10/31/2015, 00.00
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Russian plane crashes in Sinai with 224 people on board

The Russian Kogalymavia Airbus A-321, the, had left Sharm el-Sheikh and was scheduled to land in St. Petersburg. It disappeared from radar 23 minutes after takeoff. 217 tourists on board (including 17 children) and seven crew members. Faint hope of finding survivors. The peninsula is under the control of the Egyptian army but jihadists linked to the Islamic state are operative there.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Russian plane crashed in the early hours of this morning in the Sinai Peninsula. On board were 217 passengers, including 17 children, and seven crew members. Egyptian authorities confirmed the crash and have sent 45 ambulances to the site in search of wounded. But the chances of finding survivors are very low.

The Airbus A-321, operated by the Russian Kogalymavia airline, had taken off at 5:51 this morning (local time) from Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea and was headed to the airport Pulkovo in St. Petersburg, but 23 minutes later it disappeared from radar.

The causes of the accident are still unknown, but the Russian Interfax news agency reported that the plane had issued a distress call before disappearing. Another Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, reported that some crew members had previously complained about noise from the engine.

Some eyewitnesses have told the Egyptian government that the plane was completely destroyed due to the crash, the Sputnik agency, and there are very small hope of finding passengers alive. Almost all the people on board were Russian tourists returning from vacation to a popular Red Sea resort.

The plane was traveling at an altitude of 31 thousand feet (9,300 meters) when it began a rapid descent of 6 thousand feet per minute (1,800 meters) before the radar lost its signal. Although the causes of the accident are still unknown, several American news organizations (New York Times and Reuters) recall that the Sinai Peninsula is a military zone, where different jihadist groups linked to the militias of the Islamic State are activly fighting the government of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

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