Russian high-ranking officials arrive in Egypt

CAIRO — Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov, head of the governmental commission investigating the A321 aircraft crash in Egypt, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) Head Aleksandr Neradko have arrived in Cairo, the Emergencies Ministry’s press service told TASS.

“At 23.40 Moscow time (21.40 GMT) the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s aircraft landed in Cairo’s airport, with the heads of three agencies – the emergencies and transport ministries and Rosaviatsia – along with representatives of other agencies and departments constituting the commission to establish the circumstances that led to the plane crash,” he said noting that besides, investigators of the Russian Investigations Committee and Interstate Aviation Committee have arrived aboard the plane to the Egyptian capital.

Earlier, the Emergencies Ministry’s press service told TASS that Puchkov would coordinate the Russian rescuers’ operation on the ground. Another aircraft is on its way to Egypt, carrying the Tsentrospas and Leader rescue teams as well as hardware and equipment for the search and rescue operation.

The rescuers have huge expertise in the elimination of such accidents and their equipment enables them to work in an autonomous mode, he said.

Russian rescuers have arrived

Rescuers of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry have arrived in Egypt to conduct work at the crash site of the Russian airliner, the ministry’s press service told TASS.

“The Ilyushin Il-76 plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry has landed at the Cairo airport. It carried 40 rescuers from the Tsentrospas rescue unit,” the press service said. They will leave for the crash site soon.

Another Il-76 aircraft is on its way to Cairo carrying 43 rescuers from the Leader center with the necessary equipment for search work and for dealing with the aftermath of the air crash. The total number of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s officers sent to Egypt is 83.

Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov who is already in Egypt will coordinate the work of rescuers at the crash site.

On Saturday morning, Kogalymavia airline’s Flight 9268 carrying Russian tourists home on board an Airbus A321 aircraft crashed 30 minutes after taking off. The plane wreckage was spotted in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, some 100 kilometers south of the city of El-Arish.

There were 217 passengers and seven crew members on board, most of them were Russian nationals. Besides, four Ukrainians and one Belarusian were reported to have been on the plane. According to Egypt’s officials, no one survived.

November 1 is declared a day of mourning in Russia. PNA/TASS