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Summary

  1. A Russian airliner crashed in central Sinai, killing all 224 people on board, on 31 October 2015
  2. Flight KGL 9268 was carrying 214 Russian and three Ukrainian passengers
  3. It was carrying mostly tourists from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to Russia's St Petersburg
  4. Militants linked to Islamic State say they brought down the Airbus A-321, but Russia has dismissed this claim
  5. The plane is operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia, also known as Metrojet

Live Reporting

By Sarah Fowler, Aidan Lewis, Lucy Fleming, David Gritten and Nick Eardley

All times stated are UK

Summing up day's events

That wraps up our live coverage of the plane crash over North Sinai which killed all 224 passengers and crew on board. An investigation is under way into whether there was a technical fault, and the black box has been retrieved. Meanwhile, international experts have cast doubt on claims made by the Islamic State group that it was behind the disaster. Here's one of the first confirmed pictures of the destroyed aircraft. You can follow more updates on the story here

Prime Minister"s office shows the tail of a Metrojet plane that crashed in Hassana Egypt, on 31 October 2015
AP

BA and easyJet to continue flights

Following Air France and Lufthansa's decision to suspend flights over Sinai, British Airways and easyJet have now said that while their routes are regularly reviewed, they have no plans to alter their routes to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.

DNA testing in Cairo

Egyptian ministers have told a news conference that 129 bodies have been retrieved so far. Half of them were taken to a morgue in Cairo where forensic experts are performing DNA analysis before being flown back to Russia, reports the BBC's Ranyah Sabry in Cairo.

Scene at Sharm el-Sheikh airport

Passengers are queuing up to leave Sharm el-Sheikh airport, hours after the deadly crash in the Sinai Peninsula. The Red Sea resort is popular with Russian tourists - with the exception of three Ukrainians, all of the 224 passengers and crew were Russian. 

Passengers line up to depart from Sharm el-Sheikh Airport hours after a Russian aircraft carrying 224 people, including 17 children, crashed about 20 minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists, in south Sinai, Egypt, on 31 October 2015
AP

Bodies taken to Cairo morgue

As night time falls in Egypt, the bodies of some of the 224 people killed are brought to a morgue in Cairo. Among the victims are 17 children aged between 2 and 17. 

Ambulances transporting the bodies of the victims of the Russian passenger flight crash arrive at the Zeinhom morgue, Cairo, Egypt, 31 October 2015.
EPA

Chance of survivors 'slim'

Some lines coming in now from Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail, who says the chances of finding survivors are "slim". There was no irregular activity believed to be behind the crash and it will be impossible to determine a cause until the black box is examined, he adds - via Reuters.

Psychologists brought in

Psychologists are meeting with friends and relatives gathered at a hotel near St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport, meanwhile police are busy keeping journalists away, AP reports.

Relatives of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, mourns at a hotel near Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia, 31 October 2015.
Reuters

History of aviation disasters

There have been a number of high-profile aviation disasters in recent years, including the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine last year. This year, the co-pilot of Germanwings Airbus A320 crashed the aircraft in the French Alps, killing 148 people on board. Here's a timeline of aviation disasters over the past 17 years.

Lufthansa, Air France 'avoiding Sinai'

Two major airlines, Lufthansa and Air France, have decided to avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula until they get a clear explanation of what caused Saturday's crash in the area, Reuters reports.

"We took the decision to avoid the area because the situation and the reasons for the crash were not clear," a Lufthansa spokeswoman is quoted by the news agency as saying.

'Huge blow' to Egyptian tourism

Russian tourists are very important to the Egyptian economy - one third of all tourists to Egypt, particularly the Sinai Peninsula, come from Russia. The high season here starts this month and it stretches all the way to April. This is quite a huge blow to the Egyptian tourism industry, which has already been suffering for the past five years, since the January 2011 revolution. Unfortunately it seems there's not going to be a big pick up this season either."

Ranyah Sabry, CairoBBC

Prayers for the dead

One of the emergency workers prays, as they prepare to unload the bodies of the victims. 

An Egyptian soldier prays as emergency workers prepare to unload bodies of victims from the crash of a Russian aircraft over the Sinai peninsula from a police helicopter to ambulances at Kabrit military airport, some 20 miles north of Suez, Egypt, on 31 October 2015.
AP

Bodies moved

Egyptian emergency services are transporting the bodies to Cairo by military plane from Kabret military air base, near the Suez Canal.

Egyptian paramedics load the corpses of Russian victims of a Russian passenger plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula, into a military plane at Kabret military air base by the Suez Canal on 31 October 2015.
AFP

'First images'

Russian news website Lifenews has published images of what it says are the first from the scene of the crash, taken from Egyptian media. In one photo, part of the aircraft is seen blackened, scorched and smouldering on the ground.

Cairo morgue

Egyptian security services stand poised to receive the bodies of some of the plane crash victims outside Zeinhom morgue in Cairo.

Members of the Egyptian security services stand guard as they await the bodies of the victims of the Russian passenger flight crash, Zeinhom morgue, Cairo, Egypt, 31 October 2015.
EPA

Air traffic 'normal'

Despite the earlier plane crash, air traffic is operating normally over the Sinai Peninsula with flights heading both in and out of the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Flight Radar reports.

IS claim 'a fabrication'

Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says the plane could not have been downed by a missile fired by jihadist militants. "Such reports cannot be considered true," he tells the Interfax news agency, according to BBC Monitoring. 

"We are in close touch with our colleagues from Egypt and their air traffic authorities, and they have nothing at the moment which could confirm such fabrications," he adds.

Air and ground control staff 'questioned'

Prosecutors in North Sinai have summoned air and ground traffic controllers for questioning over the crash, Egypt's state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reports. A team from the civil aviation ministry has also been instructed to analyse the contents of the plane's black box, it adds.

Emotional scenes

Relatives of those killed are seen distraught over the news at a hotel near St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport.

Relatives of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, mourn at a hotel near Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia,on 31 October 2015.
Reuters

Sisi talks to Putin

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has telephoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the plane crash, the Kremlin says. President Sisi says he will allow Russian experts to be involved in the investigation into what caused the disaster.

Hasty assertions?

What is worrying a lot of people in the aviation safety community is the haste with which both the Russian and Egyptian authorities seem to be saying: 'We know this was mechanical failure.' In the event of any disaster like this, particularly when the aircraft is at high attitude, there's generally the need simply to wait until the black boxes - the flight data and cockpit voice recorders - have been analysed and then start to work out the sequence of events. And it has been asserted that perhaps they want to do this on the Egyptian side to rule out any terrorist-related activity, because the area in which the aircraft was flying over is a hotbed of Islamist fighters who are taking on Egyptian forces."

Simon CalderBBC Travel Show

Fuel samples

Russia's Investigative Committee, the country's top investigative body, is checking fuel samples taken from the plane during its last refuelling stop in the Russian city of Samara, and questioning those who were involved in preparing the aircraft and its crew, the RIA news agency reports.

'Out of missile range'

The IS statement does not say how militants downed the plane. Sinai Province has shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (Manpads). However, security experts say that as the plane was flying at 31,000ft (9,450m), it would have been beyond the range of any Manpad missiles.

Islamic State claim

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claims that it downed Flight KGL9268 in a statement published on the Telegram messaging app. 

The crash site is in an area where the Egyptian government is fighting an insurgency led by a local IS affiliate called Sinai Province. But Egyptian security sources earlier said there was no indication that the plane had been shot down or blown up.

Identification of bodies

Medics have begun assigning serial numbers to bodies recovered from the crash site in Sinai, Egypt's foreign ministry says in a statement. They have also begun taking samples and other measures to help identify them, it adds.

'I will keep hoping'

A 25-year-old woman at St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport says she is awaiting for her parents, who were on board Flight KGL9268. "I spoke to them last on the phone when they were already on the plane, and then I heard the news," Ella Smirnova tells the AFP news agency. "I will keep hoping until the end that they are alive, but perhaps I will never see them again."

Russian delegation to crash site

A Russian delegation led by Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov (pictured) left Moscow half an hour ago to head to the site of the crash, the BBC's Rafael Saakov says.

Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, Maxim Sokolov on 10 July 2015 in Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia
Getty Images

Bodies recovered

Egyptian security sources in North Sinai tell Reuters that about 150 bodies have so far been recovered within 5km (3.1 miles) of the crash site. 

Here's a map of the flight path.

Map of flight path
BBC

Relatives gather

Anxious friends and family of the passengers and crew have been gathering at St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport, awaiting news of their loved ones.

A relative of the victims reacts at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, on 31 October 2015
AP

'Safety breaches'

The Russian state transport regulator, Rostransnadzor, found violations when it conducted a routine flight safety inspection of Kogalymavia in March 2014, the Interfax news agency reports. However, the violations were remedied within the required time period, it says.

Victims named

The Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) has published a list of what it says is the names of the passengers and crew on its website.

'Technical fault caused crash'

A security source has told Reuters an initial examination indicates the plane crashed due to a technical fault

'Compensation for victims' families'

Kogalymavia will provide free flights to Egypt for relatives of those killed in the crash, and pay out an as yet undecided amount of compensation, the Russian news agency Interfax quotes spokeswoman Oxana Golovina as telling a news conference in Moscow.

Ms Golovina says the company has launched an internal investigation.

John Kerry sends condolences

US Secretary of State on plane crash:

We don't know any details about it, but obviously the initial reports represent tremendous tragedy, loss, and we extend our condolences to the families and all those concerned."

Egyptian president leaves Bahrain

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L), accompanied by Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (R), Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, as he prepares to leave Manama, Bahrain, 31 October 2015.
EPA

'Help on hand' for relatives of victims

BBC Monitoring

Russian Emergency Ministry official, Aleksey Anikin, says everything is being done at St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport to look after the victims' relatives.

"At this moment, an emergency operations centre has been set up. The relatives will be received in the Crowne Plaza Hotel," he told reporters. 

He said psychological services would also be offered to the relatives.

People waiting for information about the plane crash at St Petersburg airpot
EPA

'We don't know what caused the crash'

BBC Monitoring

Kogalymavia airline spokeswoman Oxana Golovina has said the captain of the crashed Airbus - Valery Nemov - had more than 12,000 hours of flying experience, the Russian news agency Interfax reports. 

Our aircraft was in full working order, our crew was experienced, our pilot had a great deal of flying experience, so we don't know (what caused the crash)"