MIAMI —An Airbus A321 operated by Russian airline Kolavia under the brand Metrojet crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula while flying from the Sharm el-Sheik Red sea resort to St. Petersburg. The aircraft, operating flight 7K9268, was carrying 217 passengers (including 10 children) and seven crew members.

According to information provided by Flightradar24, the aircraft registered as EI-ETJ lost contact 23 minutes after takeoff while flying at more than 30,000 ft. It began to make a steep descent at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute shortly before communications were lost.

A statement from the Egyptian prime minister’s office confirmed that the Egyptian Armed Forces detected the wreckage of the aircraft near al-hasanah area in a mountainous site. An emergency team in coordination with the armed forces was dispatched to the site in order to evacuate the victims and transport these to Suez and Cairo. Meanwhile Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declared tomorrow to be a national mourning day and instructed the Prime Minister to form a state commission to investigate the causes of the crash.

Airbus informed in a statement that the aircraft involved was a 1997-built A321 (MSN 663), in service with Metrojet since 2012. According to the manufacturer, the aircraft had logged in 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights. In line with ICAO annex 13, an Airbus go-team of technical advisors stands-by ready to provide full technical assistance to French Investigation Agency – BEA – and to the Authorities in charge of the investigation.