World Bulletin / News Desk
Condolences have poured in from many world leaders following the crash Saturday morning of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
A Russian Airbus A-321 aircraft carrying 224 people crashed in central Sinai early Saturday.
Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority said the plane had lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to Russia's St. Petersburg.
In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi offered condolences to the Russian authorities and the families of the victims.
Sisi said the Egyptian authorities were working to determine the exact causes of the crash.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also offered his country's condolences to Russia.
"We don't know any details about it, but obviously the initial reports represent a tremendous tragedy [and] loss, and we extend our condolences to the families and all those concerned,'' Kerry said during a visit to Kyrgyzstan.
Similar condolences came in from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Russian embassy in Cairo, meanwhile, has said there was no information about possible survivors.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a day of mourning for the victims of the crash.
He has also ordered Russian officials to coordinate with their Egyptian counterparts to organize the dispatch of Russian planes to Egypt carrying rescue workers and investigators able to work at the crash site.
An Egyptian security source has ruled out that the Russian plane was shot down, attributing the deadly crash to a technical malfunction.
Egyptian officials say the pilot of the Russian plane had reported technical difficulties and wanted to make an emergency landing before losing contact with air-traffic controllers.
The Russian Transport Ministry, for its part, said the plane had been cleared for takeoff and that no technical irregularities had been found prior to its departure.
Saturday's crash is expected to put more pressure on Egypt's tourism industry, which has been suffering since a popular uprising unseated autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
According to Egypt’s official statistics agency, nearly 1.6 million Russians visited Egypt in the period from January until July of this year.
Nearly three million Russian tourists visit Egypt each year. In 2014, Russians represented nearly a third of all tourist arrivals in Egypt.Last Mod: 01 Kasım 2015, 10:31