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The Russia charter flight carrying 224 passengers and crew crashed early Saturday shortly after taking off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all onboard.

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“The circumstances of the incident will be thoroughly investigated. Everyone affected by the tragedy will receive necessary medical, psychological and other kinds of assistance,” an online government statement quoted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying.

The black box of the crashed Russian plane has been found, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said at a press conference.

An investigation commission was established under the order of President Vladimir Putin and Medvedev, and includes Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov and Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov, the statement said.

The team also includes rescuers, doctors and representatives from such government departments as Investigative Committee and Health Ministry.

At least three aircraft are expected to take members of the commission to Egypt, with one already on its way to the crash site, Tass news agency reported.

Meanwhile, a criminal case was opened into the incident by the Investigative Committee to check on the compliance of laws on flight operating safety.

Investigators would look into documentation and personnel involved in the activities, operations and maintenance of the Airbus A321 to clarify details of the criminal case on plane crash, the Investigative Committee said in an online statement.

Hours after the crash, a branch of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) operating in Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility.

A video footage released by Sinai-based group “Sinai State” purportedly showed that a plane was suddenly caught on fire and fell down, but the video cannot be verified independently for the moment.

Russian Transport Minister Sokolov refuted reports of terrorist shooting down the airliner as “not trustworthy,” saying the causes of the crash can be determined only after all pieces of information are collected and analyzed.

According to Egypt’s state-run Ahram online news website, quoting Ayman Al-Mokadem who is heading an Egyptian committee to monitor the crash incident, the was due to a “technical failure” and was not shot down.

Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Egyptian government promised to provide all necessary assistance to the Russian side during the investigation process.

According to Sokolov, investigation work would be done with Egyptian aviation authorities at the site.
When affirming the airworthiness certificate of the airliner, Sokolov said the plane was allowed to perform international flights.

“Aviation authorities of Egypt and neighboring countries did not impose any flight restrictions, and the plane followed along the corridor,” Sokolov said in an online statement.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus said in an online statement that the aircraft involved in the accident was produced in 1997 and operated by Russia Metrojet Airline since 2012, accumulating some 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights.

Sokolov added that Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Transport has organized an urgent inspection of Metrojet airline to “decide the future of the company.”

St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko said the government is arranging the transportation of victim bodies, genetic examination and other related issues.

Russian President Putin declared Nov. 1 as national day of mourning over the plane crash. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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