A Russian passenger airliner crashed Saturday in the Sinai, Egypt’s Prime Minister Sharif Ismail said in a statement.
Russian state media reported that the plane was carrying 224 people. The Prime Minister is meeting with ministers and security officials regarding the crash.
Russian media are reporting that the pilot radioed to request a landing at the nearest airport before contact with the plane was lost. There has been, however, no official corroboration of that account.
The Northern Sinai medical department declared a state of emergency, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. The Prime Minister’s office reported that 50 ambulances had been dispatched to the area . But because of mountainous terrain and an ongoing insurgency, the area might be difficult to reach.
The plane crashed in the northern part of Sinai, near a town called Housna — 185 miles (300 kilometers) from Sharm el-Sheikh, according to the office of the Egyptian Prime Minister. This is a mountainous region. The crash site has been spotted from the air by Egyptian Air Force planes, but has not yet been reached on the ground, officials said.
224 people were reported to be aboard, including 217 passengers and seven crew members. The passengers included 17 children. There is no word on survivors, according to Egyptian officials. Also, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus says its embassy in Egypt is working to determine whether Belarusian citizens were on board.
The airliner was on its way from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, to St. Petersburg, Russia, according to Sputnik news, an official Russian news agency.
Egyptian air traffic control said it lost contact with the Russian airliner 23 minutes after takeoff according to Sputnik news. Many of the passengers were reported to be Russians returning from vacations. The plane disappeared at 6:20 a.m. local time. (CNN)