Russian passenger aircraft with 220 onboard goes off radar, reportedly crashes over Egypt (UPDATE 3)
Details added (first version posted on 11:42)
A Russian plane carrying over 220 people from Egypt to Russia disappeared from radars, and crashed in central Sinai, according to Russian and Egyptian authorities.
Kolavia Flight 7K9268, an Airbus A321, went off radar 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport, Sergey Izvolskiy told the media citing preliminary data.
The plane was carrying 212 passengers and 7 crewmembers, he added. Seventeen of the passengers are children.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail confirmed that the Russian plane did go missing over Sinai and said a cabinet-level crisis committee has been convened to deal with the incident.
The crash site was discovered hours later in a desolate mountainous area of central Sinai, Egypt's aviation ministry reported.
The flight was traveling from the Egyptian resort to St. Petersburg, RIA Novosti reported. It belonged to Kogalymavia airline, which also uses the brand name Metrojet.
The plane was supposed to contact air traffic in Turkish Cyprus' Larnaca after leaving Egypt's airspace, but failed to do so.
A source at Sharm El-Sheikh Airport told RIA Novosti the pilot of the missing plane requested a change of course, saying the jet would have to land in Cairo.
Metrojet had a fatal incident in 2011, when one of its planes caught fire on a runway in Surgut Airport in Russia's Urals. Three people died and 40 were injured as the plane burned out in just 10 minutes.
The last large-scale Russian airline incident happened in November 2013, when Tatarstan Airlines Flight 363 crashed at Kazan International Airport while attempting to land. Fifty people died in the incident.