A commercial airplane carrying 224 passengers and crew crashed in Egypt this morning after losing contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after takeoff.
There were no survivors.
The St. Petersburg-bound Airbus321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia, departed at 5:51 this morning from Sharm el-Sheikh, a costal town on Egypt's Sinai peninsula.
Minutes after reaching its cruising altitude of 31,000 feet, the aircraft experienced “technical difficulties” and lost contact with radar. It began nosediving, falling about 6,000 feet per minute, and crashed soon after in Hassana, a remote, mountainous region near Egypt's border with Israel.
An Egyptian security officer at the scene of the crash told Reuters,
According to the Russian Embassy in Cairo, Egyptian officials said the pilot had been trying to make an emergency landing at El-Arish.
However, the Islamic State (ISIS) has since claimed responsibility for the crash.
In a statement released on Twitter, the terrorist organization wrote,
Despite ISIS's claims, officials maintain a technical failure was the sole cause of the crash. The aircraft shows no signs of external trauma to indicate it had been shot down or blown up.
Investigators are hoping that the flight recorders, one of which has already been recovered, will provide more clues as to what exactly happened aboard the doomed flight.