Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Reuters)
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended on Saturday his condolences to Russia for the victims of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, a presidency statement read.
President El-Sisi has been "closely following the development of this tragic accident," the statement added.
El-Sisi also ordered a quick investigation into the crash.
An aviation team has extracted the black box to determine the reason for the crash of Airbus A-321, which was flying from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to Russia's St Petersburg. The plane lost contact with the radar at 6.20 am CLT, less than half an hour after takeoff.
The plane was carrying 217 passengers- 214 Russians, three Ukrainians, and seven crew members.
Pilot Ayman Al-Mokadem, who is heading a committee to monitor the aftermath of the crash, put the incident down to a "technical failure," refuting earlier speculation that it was shot down in the restive peninsula. He said that the pilot sensed the failure and reported to the aviation authorities that he wanted to land at the nearest airport, adding that he seemed to have crashed while attempting to land in Al-Arish's airport in North Sinai.