Date
12 December 2017
People in St. Petersburg light candles and lay flowers on a makeshift memorial for victims of the Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
People in St. Petersburg light candles and lay flowers on a makeshift memorial for victims of the Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

Russian airliner broke up in mid-air, says official

A Russian plane that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula over the weekend, killing all 224 people on board, broke up in mid-air at high altitude, an official said on Sunday.

“The destruction happened in the air, and fragments were scattered over a large area of around 20 square kilometers,” said Viktor Sorochenko, director of Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee.

However, he warned that it is too early to draw any conclusions about the cause of the accident, Reuters reported.

On Saturday, a Russian airliner bound for St Petersburg came down shortly after leaving the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing everyone on board. 

The aircraft, operated by Metrojet, crashed into a mountainous area of central Sinai shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude.

Egyptian authorities have found debris scattered across a 20 square kilometer area. So far 163 bodies have been found.

A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt said in a statement that it brought down the plane, but Russian and Egyptian officials have dismissed that claim.

Experts from Airbus have begun arriving in Egypt to assist in the investigation into the crash.

In the wake of the accident, some international airlines are re-routing flights over Sinai as a security precaution.

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CG/RC

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