Egypt plane crash as it happened: Pilot of Metrojet flight 9268 had reported technical difficulties

The Airbus A321 was just over 23 minutes into its flight from Egypt to Russia when it disappeared from radar

A Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Here are the latest updates:




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The plane's last recorded radar position above the northern Sinai peninsula

The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia, was flying from the Sinai coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it went down in a desolate mountainous area of central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.

It took off at 5.51 am (3.51am GMT) and ground contact with it was lost with it about 25 minutes later, officials said.

Egyptian military search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the passenger jet in the Hassana area south of the city of Arish. 

“I now see a tragic scene. A lot of dead on the ground and many who died whilst strapped to their seats,” a security officer told Reuters from the crash site.

“The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside.”

According to FlightRadar24, the aircraft was descending rapidly at about 6,000  feet per minute before the signal was lost.

Islamist militants affiliated with Isis are active in the region but Egyptian security sources said there was no indication that the plane had been shot down. 

An Egyptian official with the government's Aviation Incidents Committeel, Ayman al-Muqadem, said that before losing contact the pilot had radioed that the plane was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to try and land at the nearest airport.

The Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, was heading to the crash site with several cabinet ministers on a private jet as relatives and friends gathered at St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport.

Airbus said it had no independent information on the crash and declined to comment on the aircraft involved.

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters