CAIRO: A total of 175 bodies have been extracted from the Russian plane that crashed in central Sinai Saturday, an official source told Youm7.
The Third Field Army has taken over the rescue mission and flies the bodies to Cairo. A state of emergency has been ordered at hospitals in central Sinai and South Sinai, but none have been found alive at the plane’s debris.
The plane carried 224 passengers, including a crew of seven. Three of the passengers were Ukrainian and the rest were Russian, including 17 children, 138 women and 62 men.
Three of the passengers were soldiers from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, according to TASS news agency.
Lufthansa and Air France announced they would avoid flying over Sinai until the reason behind the disaster is clear.
While Egyptian investigators said the incident is probably due to a technical error, Egypt’s affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for “downing the plane.” Russia’s Transport Minister, however, told Interfax news agency the claim “can’t be considered accurate,” according to Reuters.
Further, Russia has filed a criminal lawsuit against airline Kogalymavia after its Airbus A-321 fell down Saturday. Minister Kamal told Aswat Masriya that the plane was at 31,000 feet when it lost radar contact and it is “impossible” to have been targeted by a rocket at this altitude.
The plane had taken off from Egypt’s famous resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in South Sinai; a favorite holiday destination of many Russians.