The Ministry of Civil Aviation in Egypt said an aircraft for Russia carrying 217 passengers including 7 crewmembers crashed on Saturday in the Sinai peninsula. The official statement said that search and rescue found the plane’s wreckage in the southern area of Hassana near el-Arish a restive city, where security forces from Egypt are battling with the Islamic State militant insurgency.
The ministry statement said the plane had taken off from Sharm el-Sheikh airport in the Sinai, which has become a very popular tourist destination for Russians, and disappeared only 23 minutes after its takeoff from radars.
The aircraft left at 5:51 a.m. Egypt time, bound for the Russian city of St. Petersburg, said the government’s statement. Earlier during the day, an official from Egypt with the Incident Committee of the government told the local media the plane lost contact briefly with air controllers but had reached Turkish airspace.
An online plane tracking site Flight Radar, said a Metrojet flight disappeared over Egyptian airspace 23 minutes after takeoff.
An official from Cyprus Civil Aviation said that Cairo air traffic control has notified authorities in Cyprus that they had lost contact with a Russian aircraft.
The official said the last contact the aircraft had was with authorities in Egypt.
A spokesperson from the Turkish government said no information had come to them about the missing plane from Russia.
The state run news agency in Egypt said the Sherif Ismail the Prime Minister canceled a visit to Ismailiya and had formed an operations area in which to work.
Maria Zakharova a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry in Russia said on Facebook that the personnel in the Russian Embassy in Egypt were working on clarifying the situation.
The region has been a hot bed due to the conflicts taking place in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, with some commercial airlines limiting flights to the area or barring them all together.