Egypt Plane Crash: What We Know So Far
Emergency services arriving at the site of a plane crash that killed 224 people including more than a dozen children in Egypt have described the scene as “tragic". where passengers had died still strapped in their seats.
Airbus has released a statement following the crash releasing some information as to what occurred, saying more will be available "as soon as possible".
Independent.ie takes a look at what we know about the disaster thus far.
What actually happened?
A small Russian passenger plane took off from the popular tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh shortly before 6am local time.
The airline was carrying 224 people - the majority of whom were tourists - and was travelling to St Petersburg.
At around 620am, the jet disappeared from radar screens in Cypriot airspace at an altitude of 31,000 feet over the mountainous region of Arish.
The plane then went into a "rapid descent" to the crash site around 40 kilometres south of Al-Arish.
"The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock," a rescue officer has said.
Who was on board the flight?
It is understood that there were 224 travelling on board the plane - and 17 of those are believed to have been children. A crew of seven were also on board.
Egyptian officials have said that there are no survivors from the crash - and that passengers had died still strapped in their seats.
Can travellers trust the A321?
Former head of flight operations at the Civil Aviation Authority Mike Vivian has said that the aircraft has an "excellent safety record".
What do we know about the airline Kogalymavia?
The small airline Kogalymavia has around six jets in total and mainly operates internal flights with some holiday flights to Turkey and Egypt from Russia.
In 2011, a problem with one of their aircraft caused an accident which led to the deaths of three people.
However, the airline, which was flying under the Metrojet banner, is not on the EU blacklist of Russian airlines banned over European airspace.
What caused the accident - was it a mechanical failure?
Experts have said that a mechanical failure is an unlikely cause because of the A321's performance ranking and low incident rate.
However, it has been reported by Egyptian airspeace officials that the pilot had warned of an emergency landing because of a technical problem.
Weather conditions? Terrorist action?
Experts have said that weather is an unlikely cause of the tragic crash as no poor conditions were reported in the area.
Sharm el-Sheikh has started to become popular again as a key holiday resort and any attack would significantly damage Egypt’s tourism industry.
While Egyptian authorities were quick to quash suggestions that the plane had been shot down, "hostile action" has not been completely ruled out.
What happens now?
Emergency rescue teams are currently at the crash site and the jet’s black boxes have been found.
This will provide investigators with a better insight of what happened in the moments before the crash.
They will be looking into, among other things, the weather at the time, the pilots' experience, maintenance records, signs of a stall and any evidence of an explosion