Toddler in airport window encapsulates Russia plane tragedy

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NTP: Victims, memorials for Russian flight, plane crash
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Toddler in airport window encapsulates Russia plane tragedy
A portrait of 10 month Darina Gromova, a victim of a plane crash, is surrounded by flowers and candles at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg's airport, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia's deadliest air crash to date. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA NOVEMBER 02: A girl visits the memorial stone at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall in Moscow, Russia, on November,02, 2015. The A321 Russian airliner, operated by Metrojet, was carrying holiday makers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it went down soon after daybreak on Saturday. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A woman lays flowers mourning for the plane crash victims at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg's airport, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia's deadliest air crash to date. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
A picture of a young couple, the plane crash victims, leis between flowers at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St.Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg's airport, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia's deadliest air crash to date. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Young women grieve at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St.Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg's airport, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia's deadliest air crash to date.(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A picture of plane crash victims are attached to the fence at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg's airport, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia's deadliest air crash to date. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
A girl holds her toy standing at the memorial stone with the word Leningrad (St. Petersburg) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Mourners have been coming to St. Petersburg's airport and other places since Saturday with flowers, pictures of the victims, stuffed animals and paper planes. Others went to churches and lit candles in memory of the dead. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People light candles inside an Orthodox church in St.Petersburg during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims, Russia, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. The Russian Metrojet airliner crashed Saturday in a remote mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula 23 minutes after taking off from a popular Red Sea resort, killing all 224 people on board, including 25 children. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A woman woman releases a white bird in memory of the victims during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. The Metrojet charter crashed Saturday morning 23 minutes after taking off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, a top destination for Russian tourists. All 224 people on board died. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A portrait of one of victims lies next to the toys and flowers at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St.Petersburg, Russia, during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Hundreds of people are bringing flowers and pictures to St. Petersburg's airport to commemorate the 224 victims of the Russian plane crash in Egypt. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A woman reacts as she comes to lay flowers and toys at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St.Petersburg, Russia, during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Hundreds of people are bringing flowers and pictures to St. Petersburg's airport to commemorate the 224 victims of the Russian plane crash in Egypt. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A portrait of one of victims lies next to the toys and flowers at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St.Petersburg, Russia, during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Hundreds of people are bringing flowers and pictures to St. Petersburg's airport to commemorate the 224 victims of the Russian plane crash in Egypt. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A relative of the victims of a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard has crashed, reacts at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Relatives react after a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard crashed, as people gather at Russian airline Kogalymaviaâs information desk at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. Russia's civil air agency is expected to have a news conference shortly to talk about the Russian Metrojet passenger plane that Egyptian authorities say has crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Photos of some of the victims of #7K9268. Rest In Peace. #SinaiCrash https://t.co/PIT0NludWJ
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Ten-month-old Darina Gromova presses her soft, barely-toddler hands on the window of an airport terminal. "The main passenger," her mother's comment reads, followed by smiley faces.

Tender images like this one, posted on social networks by Russian vacationers in Egypt, mark the last public record of their lives. Darina and her parents were among 224 people killed Saturday when their plane disintegrated in midair.

One couple had just celebrated their anniversary. One young man flew to Sharm el-Sheikh to propose to his bride. At least three victims marked birthdays during their trip, according to postings on Russian network VKontakte, Instagram and other sites.

Relatives, friends and colleagues have piled bouquets and mementoes at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport, where the plane had been expected to land. Others are paying homage at the historical city's graceful Palace Square, where photos of victims dangle from a fence.

Visitors to the mourning sites largely keep to themselves, too pained or pensive to share stories of their loved ones now lost.

Darina Gromova was the accident's youngest victim. She stands on a windowsill, leaning on an airport window transfixed by planes below, in a photo her mother Tatyana posted from Pulkovo Airport before they left.

In their wedding video, posted by a friend on VKontakte, Tatyana and Alexei Gromov embrace repeatedly — on a lakeshore, in a meadow, on a swing. He grins after straightening his tie. She shows off her dress. Her eyes fill with tears of emotion after they exchange their vows. They dance with family and friends.

Their daughter Anastasia was born in December. Her grandmother, Elena Gromova, told Russian news site Life News 78 that she offered to keep the baby home for the Egypt trip, but her parents said no.

"They wanted to take the child with them, to let her splash her feet in the sea," Gromova was quoted as saying.

While the image of Anastasia and other victims have circulated widely online, The Associated Press doesn't publish pictures from social networks without explicit permission to do so.

Three-year-old Anastasia Sheina, safe in her father's arms, gazes down at her mother's camera lens as they board the plane meant to take them home.

"Hi St. Petersburg, goodbye Egypt. We're going home." Olga Sheina posted those words beneath the photo of her daughter and husband Yuri on VKontakte. Anastasia has one arm around her father's neck as they mount the stairs to the plane.

Elena Rodina and Alexander Kotov were married exactly a year ago. Marking their anniversary in Egypt, they posted photos online of the sea, the beach, their hotel. The day after the crash, Rodina would have turned 35.

Russian tourist Victoria Sevryukova, 24, posted pictures on Instagram. Beneath are the words:

"You stand on the seashore, you think you are free and your life has just begun."

___

Angela Charlton reported from Paris. Mstislav Chernov contributed to this report from Moscow.

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