Sinai plane crash online updates: Search widens for bodies and debris

Sherif Ismail and military and government officials at the site where a passenger plane crashed in Hassana Egypt

Sherif Ismail and military and government officials at the site where a passenger plane crashed in Hassana Egypt

Mourning in St. Petersburg extended till November 3rd. Experts starts analysing flight data recorders

UPD at 8:51 p.m. MSK: Russian jet may have broken up midair over Egypt, official says.

UPD at 8:48 p.m. MSK: There is still very little information for determining what caused the A321 plane crash in Egypt, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov told reporters on Sunday.

"It is not possible to give a plausible answer as to what caused the crash because little information has been gathered," he said. A commission of experts has only started working, he said.

For his part, Alexander Neradkov, the head of the Federal Air Transport Agency, said that Egypt has the prerogative to announce the result of the crash inquiry.

UPD at 8:27 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 8:24 p.m. MSK: The plane carrying the bodies of the victims killed in the A321 plane crash is due to depart from Egypt for St. Petersburg at 9 p.m. Moscow time, said Vladimir Stepanov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations.

"We gave the information that we are planning loading of the bodies and aircraft departure at 8 p.m. local time. That will be 9 p.m. Moscow time," he said.

The plane will fly out of Egypt at around 9-10 p.m., the flight duration is around five hours, he said. The staff at St. Petersburg should therefore be ready to receive the aircraft.

UPD at 7:47 p.m. MSK: Drones are searching an area of 20 sq km.

UPD at 5:24 p.m. MSK: Investigators have questioned the staff who performed technical maintenance on the aircraft of the Kogalymavia airline company, and the crew of the A321's Egypt-bound flight, Russian Investigative Committee (RIC) spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Sunday.

"They questioned officers from air navigation support units, the staff who provided technical maintenance for the aircraft of the Kogalymavia Airline Company, and the crew of the Samara to Sharm el-Sheikh flight performed by the crash aircraft on October 30," he said.

In Samara, the last point of the plane\'s refueling, investigators seized samples of the fuel and other documentation concerning the pre-flight inspection of the technical condition of the aircraft, Markin said. "The samples are due to undergo forensic tests," he said.

UPD at 4:54 p.m. MSK: A total of 130 bodies of the victims killed in the crash of a Russian A321 aircraft on the Sinai Peninsula have been examined in Egypt, Vladimir Svetelsky, head of the Emergency Situations Ministry's department of aviation technologies and unmanned aviation, said at a meeting with other ministry officials on Sunday. "Preliminary examination of the victims' bodies in Cairo continues. Two morgues have completed the work, having examined 130 bodies. Four others have yet to do the work," he said.

UPD at 4:52 p.m. MSK: The Emergency Situations Ministry has received satellite images of the A321 crash scene on the Sinai Peninsula, Alexei Smirnov, the acting head of the ministry's National Crisis Management Center, said at a meeting with ministry officials on Sunday. "We have received space photographs which clearly show the plane wreckage over an area of 16 square kilometers," he said.

UPD at 4:48 p.m. MSK: Russian embassy in Kiev.

UPD at 4:46 p.m. MSK: Timeline: the course of flight KGL9268

UPD at 3:53 p.m. MSK: The Federal Transportation Oversight Service (Rostransnadzor) has issued a prescription to Kogalymavia airlines operating under the Metrojet brand name to suspend the flights of Airbuses A321 until the causes for the air crash in Egypt are identified, a spokesman for the service told Interfax.

By the end of November 2 the airlines should evaluate all the risks, conduct prompt preventive measures and decide on the use of aircraft of this type guaranteeing an acceptable level of flight safety.

UPD at 3:00 p.m. MSK: Breaking: Experts starts analysing flight data recorders.

UPD at 3:00 p.m. MSK: Russian convoy on its way to the plane crash site. 

UPD at 2:51 p.m. MSK: Mourning in St Petersburg extended till November 3rd.

UPD at 2:44 p.m. MSK: Remains of 175 passengers have been retrieved from the crash site. 

UPD at 2:37 p.m. MSK: The bodies of 163 victims of the air crash of a Russian Airbus A321 have been taken to the morgues of Cairo, the Russian Foreign Ministry reports.

"As at 1 p.m. 163 bodies of passengers of the crashed Russian airliner had been delivered to the morgues of Cairo. Initial identification is under way," a Sunday posting on the official Twitter account of the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

UPD at 2:28 p.m. MSK: People remember those who were on board of 7K9268.

UPD at 2:24 p.m. MSK: No survivors as Russian plane crashes with 224 on board.

UPD at 2:23 p.m. MSK: Russian rescuers will examine an area of around 16 square kilometers in the Sinai, Egypt, where the Kogalymavia Airbus A321 crashed on Saturday. 

"A mixed working group led by Emergency Situations' Minister Vladimir Puchkov is working directly at the Airbus crash spot," a ministry spokesman said at an intercom conference at the ministry on Sunday. "The rules of operations were approved. It was decided to thoroughly comb the area sized over 16 square kilometers," he said

UPD at 2:09 p.m. MSK: BBC News reportage from the spot.


UPD at 2:04 p.m. MSK:  (@92fmru) "People bring flowers and toys to the St Petersburg office in Moscow."

UPD at 2:01 p.m. MSK:  ( "The jet split in two near the tail, which could mean a "tailstrike" in 2001 was never truly fixed."

UPD at 1:57 p.m. MSK:  "The Egyptians are real men. It seems that they are doing everything to help." 

UPD at 1:54 p.m. MSK:  The quality of the fuel, used by crashed Russian Kogalymavia Airbus A321 complied with all the requirements, representative of Privolzhsky's transportation prosecutor's office Maya Ivanova told Rossiya-24 broadcaster Sunday.

Kogalymavia Airbus was refueled in Samara before the flight to Egypt.

UPD at 1:53 p.m. MSK: The Sinai aircrash became the deadliest air accident in the history of Russian aviation, surpassing the 1985 disaster in Uzbekistan, where 200 people died.

UPD at 1:51 p.m. MSK: November 1 is declared a day of mourning in Russia

UPD at 1:49 p.m. MSK: 

UPD at 1:46 p.m. MSK: (BBC News) A hotel near St Petersburg airport has become a gathering point for relatives of those on flight 9268. There are medics here to help them, and we saw an Orthodox priest. 

UPD at 1:42 p.m. MSK: Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail dismissed the claim, saying experts had confirmed that a plane could not be downed at the altitude the Airbus 321 was flying at.

UPD at 1:41 p.m. MSK: Kogalymavia spokeswoman Oksana Golovina insisted the 18-year-old plane was "fully, 100% airworthy" and added that the pilot had 12,000 hours of flying experience.

UPD at 1:40 p.m. MSK: The BBC's Sally Nabil in Cairo says the crash has been a major blow to Egypt's already struggling tourism industry, and the Egyptian authorities are trying very hard to accelerate the investigation process.

UPD at 1:39 p.m. MSK: Egypt's prime minister said a technical fault was the most likely cause, dismissing claims from Islamic State militants that they were responsible.

However, three airlines - Emirates, Air France and Lufthansa - have decided not to fly over the Sinai Peninsula until more information is available.

Police standing guard outside a morgue in Cairo, Egypt, ahead of the arrival of bodies of Russian plane crash victims © AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

Police standing guard outside a morgue in Cairo, Egypt, ahead of the arrival of bodies of Russian plane crash victims © AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

UPD at 1:21 p.m. MSK: Black boxes from the Airbus A321 that crashed in Sinai on Saturday sustained minor damage, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told Tass. ‘They have slight technical damage. But there was no thermal damage as representatives of the Egyptian side say," he said.

UPD at 1:19 p.m. MSK: Rescuers of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry have arrived in Egypt to conduct work at the crash site of the Russian airliner, the ministry’s press service told TASS.

"The Ilyushin Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry has landed at the Cairo airport. It carried 40 rescuers from the Tsentrospas rescue unit," the press service said. They will leave for the crash site soon.

UPD at 1:13 p.m. MSK: Psychiatrists from Russia’s Serbsky Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry have begun preparing relatives of the victims of the plane crash in Egypt for the identification of the bodies, which will soon be delivered to St.Petersburg, the center’s director, chief psychiatrist of the Russian Ministry of Health Zurab Kekelidze told TASS.

St.Petersburg Vice-Governor Igor Albin said on Saturday all bodies would be delivered to St.Petersburg within 24 hours.

UPD at 1:00 p.m. MSK: Rescuers of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations are heading from Cairo to the site in Sinai where an Airbus A-321 of Kogalymavia airlines crashed on Saturday, the ministry’s press service reports.

More than 80 rescuers arrived in Cairo from Russia overnight to Sunday, bringing all necessary hardware and equipment for autonomous work.

They will join the search operation within the next few hours, the press service said. A crisis center and a mobile camp with all necessary equipment will be deployed at the site.

Updated by Gleb Fedorov

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