Russian airliner with 224 on board crashes in Sinai

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Updated 31 October 2015
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Russian airliner with 224 on board crashes in Sinai

ISMAILIA/CAIRO: A Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers and crew crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Saturday, the Egyptian civil aviation authority said, and a security officer who arrived on the scene said all aboard the plane were probably dead.
RIA News Agency, quoting a Russian Aviation Authority source, said the plane was carrying 7 crew, 200 adult passengers and 17 children.
The Airbus A-321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia with registration number KGL-9268, was flying from the Sinai Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia when it went down in a desolate mountainous area of central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said.
It took off at 5:51 a.m. Cairo time (0351 GMT) and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes later, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
The plane was completely destroyed and all those on board are likely to have died, the Egyptian security officer who arrived at the scene told Reuters by telephone.
Egyptian security sources said there was no indication that the Airbus jet had been shot down or blown up.
Sinai-based militants who support Islamic State have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months.
After delays caused by poor weather conditions, Egyptian search and rescue teams located the site of the crash in the Hassana area 35 km (22 miles) south of the Sinai Mediterranean coastal city of Al Arish, the aviation ministry statement said.
The plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) when it vanished from radar screens, it said. Rescue service sources said so far five ambulances had managed to reach the venue of the crash.
An article uploaded on Wikipedia about the air crash said the Airbus A321 was owned and leased from AerCap and was 18 years old at the time of the incident.
“The aircraft was initally delivered to Lebanese airline Middle East Airlines on 25 May 1997. It was transferred to Kolavia in March 2012 and then to Metrojet in May 2012. The aircaft was powered by two IAE V2533 engines and configured to carry 220 passengers in an economy configuration,” the article said.


US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Updated 16 July 2019
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US ‘suspects’ Iran seized UAE based oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

  • Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged tanker Riah stopped transmitting its location Saturday
  • A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island

LONDON: The US said it suspects Iran has seized an oil tanker that drifted into Iranian waters as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Ship tracking data shows the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah, which is based in the UAE, stopped transmitting its location on Saturday.

The incident is the latest involving shipping in the region where tensions between Iran and the US have escalated in recent months. Iran has been accused of planting mines on several tankers as Washington ramps up economic and military pressure on the regime over its nuclear program and aggressive foreign policy in the region.

Iran also threatened to retaliate against shipping after British forces this month helped seize an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar as it attempted to deliver oil to Syria.

A US defense official told AP that Riah is in Iranian territorial waters near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it. He said the US "has suspicions" Iran seized the vessel.

"Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That's a possibility," the official said. "But the longer there is a period of no contact ... it's going to be a concern."

The Riah, a 58-meter oil tanker, traveled from a port near Dubai through the Strait of Hormuz toward Fujairah on the UAE's east coast. After 11 p.m. Saturday something happened to the vessel, according to tracking data.

Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told AP that the tanker had not switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE.

"That is a red flag," Raja said. 

An Emirati official told Al Arabiya that the oil tanker is not owned or operated by the UAE and has not sent a distress call.

“We are monitoring the situation with our international partners,” the official said.

The ship's registered owner, Dubai-based Prime Tankers LLC, told AP it had sold the ship to another company.

Iranian officials have not said anything publicly about the ship.

*With AP