OMG!!! Russian plane with 224 passengers onboard crashes around Egypt
A Russian airliner has crashed in central Sinai with more than 200 people on board, the office of Egypt's prime minister has confirmed.
The Airbus A-321 had just left the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg. Wreckage of the plane has been found in the Hassana area. It disappeared from radar screens when travelling at 31,000ft, Egyptian officials said.
Egyptian officials said most on board are likely to have died.
The plane was operated by the small Russian airline Kogalymavia, based in western Siberia.
Russian authorities say it was carrying 217 passengers, 17 of them children, and seven crew. Most were Russian tourists.
Initially there were conflicting reports about the fate of the plane, some suggesting it had disappeared over Cyprus.
But the office of Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail confirmed in a statement that a "Russian civilian plane... crashed in the central Sinai".
It added that Mr Ismail had formed a crisis committee to deal with the crash.
Media reports say at least 40 ambulances have been sent to the scene.
The Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsiya said in a statement that flight 7K 9268 left Sharm el-Sheikh at 06:51 Moscow time (03:51 GMT) and had been due into St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport at 12:10.
The authority added that the aircraft failed to make scheduled contact with Cyprus air traffic control 23 minutes after take-off and disappeared from the radar.
Egypt's civilian aviation ministry said the plane had been at an altitude of 9,500m (31,000ft) when it disappeared.
Live flight tracking service Flight Radar 24's Mikail Robertson confirmed the altitude.
He told the BBC that the plane started to drop very fast, losing 1,500m in one minute before coverage was lost.
A centre to help relatives of the passengers has been set up at Pulkovo airport, Tass news agency quoted St Peterburg city officials as saying.