A Russian passenger plane crashed in central Sinai killing all 224 people on board, Egyptian officials have confirmed.
Rescue officials say that at least 100 victims, many of whom were still strapped to their seats, have been pulled from the wreckage of the Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Russian news agencies have reported that the Russian airline had said it saw no grounds to blame human error for the crash.
Meanwhile, Egyptian security sources say there is no indication that the plane was shot down or blown up.
Kolavia Flight 7K9268 carrying 217 passengers and 7 crew members, reportedly went off radar 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport.
Sky News reports:
An Egyptian security officer at the scene said the bodies of five children were among those which have been found so far.
There are “a lot of dead on the ground and many who died whilst strapped to their seats,” the official told news agency Reuters.
“The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part crashed into a rock,” he added.
The plane, operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia, also known as Metrojet, took off from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh shortly before six am local time, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.
It disappeared from radar screens some 23 minutes into the flight.
The wreckage was found in the mountainous Hassana area, 22 miles (35km) south of the northern city of Arish, Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said.
Rescuers have discovered the crucial black box, which contains vital aircraft data and will help investigators to work out what happened in the moments before the plane began its rapid descent.