Russia flies thousands of tourists from Egypt after crash

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Russia Plane Crash: What We Know



Russia has returned 11,000 of its tourists from Egypt in the last 24 hours in response to the plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula a week ago, RIA news agency said on Sunday, but tens of thousands more are waiting for flights home.

The chief Egyptian investigator into the crash of the Russian airliner on Oct. 31 which killed all 224 people on board said his team was considering all scenarios for the cause of the tragedy after reporting a noise registered in the last seconds of the flight recording. Western countries suspect a bomb was planted by militants.

A leading airline predicted the disaster will lead to stringent aviation security worldwide.

Thousands of mostly Russian and British tourists are stranded at Sharm al-Sheikh airport, where the Airbus (AIR.PA) A321 took off for St Petersburg before crashing 23 minutes into the flight.

Around 80,000 Russians were left in Egypt after the Kremlin grounded all flights to the country on Friday following the crash, due to security concerns.

A British official said on Saturday it could take 10 days for all British tourists to be flown home.

The crash occurred when the auto-pilot was engaged. Debris was scattered over a 13-km (8-mile) area "which is consistent with an in-flight break-up", said Ayman al-Muqaddam, head of the investigation committee.

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Russia mourns victims of plane crash in Egypt
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Russia flies thousands of tourists from Egypt after crash
A woman reacts standing at pictures of the plane crash victims are attached to the fence at Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Mourners continued to come to St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport and Dvortsovaya Square on Tuesday to lay flowers and leave paper planes and soft toys at the arrivals hall. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
The Kremlin guards pass flowers and toys laid 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, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 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. Metrojetâs Airbus A321-200 en route from Egyptâs Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed over the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 on board. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
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)
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 man and his daughter put flowers and a toy at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. A Russian official says families have identified the bodies of 33 victims killed in Saturday's plane crash over Egypt. The Russian jet crashed over the Sinai Peninsula early Saturday, killing all 224 people on board. Most of them were holidaymakers from Russia's St. Petersburg. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A woman with her baby reacts as she stands near to floral tributes for the victims of a plane crash, at an entrance of Pulkovo airport outside St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. A Russian official says families have identified the bodies of 33 victims killed in Saturday's plane crash over Egypt. The Russian jet crashed over the Sinai Peninsula early Saturday, killing all 224 people on board. Most of them were holidaymakers from Russia's St. Petersburg. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A picture of plane crash victims and a soft toy lie in memory to victims of a Metrojet plane crashed in Egypt 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 Russian national flag flies at half staff 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)
People light candles 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 woman prays as she lights a candle in a church in St.Petersburg during a day of national mourning for the plane crash victims in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. A Russian passenger plane has crashed in the Sinai peninsula Saturday with 217 passengers, mostly Russians, and seven Russian crew members killed. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A man looks at candles and flowers in Simferopol on November 1, 2015 in memory of the victims of a jetliner crash. Russia mourned its biggest ever air disaster after a passenger jet full of Russian tourists crashed in Egypt's Sinai, killing all 224 people on board. A Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt broke up 'in the air', an investigator said on November 1, as the bodies of many of the 224 people killed on board were flown home. AFP PHOTO / MAX VETROV (Photo credit should read MAX VETROV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 1: People mourn the victims of Airbus A321 crash at the Palace Square on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31. According to Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
A woman reacts in central Saint Petersburg on November 1, 2015, as people gather to light candles in memory of the victims of a jetliner crash. Flags flew at half-mast in Russia on November 1 as the country mourned its worst air disaster after a jetliner full of Russian tourists crashed in Egypt, killing all 224 on board. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT-PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 1: Russian people lay flowers, toys and light candles to memory of Russian plane accident in Egypt on October 31, at Dvortsovaya square in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on November 1, 2015. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Women look at candles and flowers in Simferopol on November 1, 2015 in memory of the victims of a jetliner crash. Russia mourned its biggest ever air disaster after a passenger jet full of Russian tourists crashed in Egypt's Sinai, killing all 224 people on board. A Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt broke up 'in the air', an investigator said on November 1, as the bodies of many of the 224 people killed on board were flown home. AFP PHOTO / MAX VETROV (Photo credit should read MAX VETROV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 01: A woman holds a candle at a memorial for the victims of Airbus A321 crash at the Pulkovo Airport on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 01: A woman cries near a 'memorial' to the victims of the Airbus A321 crash at the Pulkovo Airport on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
A family photo of victims lies next to the toys and flowers 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)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 01: People mourn the victims of Airbus A321 crash at Pulkovo Airport on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 01: Candles, toys and flowers are seen at the 'memorial' of the victims of the Airbus A321 crash at the Pulkovo Airport on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
A man with a girl lays 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)
People react as they come to lay flowers and toys at an the 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 Saturday's 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)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 01: People mourn the victims of Airbus A321 crash at Pulkovo Airport on November 1, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. (Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)
A family 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. 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)
Relatives react at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure, officials said. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative of those on the Metrojet flight that crashed in Egypt react as they gather to grieve at a hotel near St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport outside 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 at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure, officials said. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
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)
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)
People gather at the airline information desk at of Russian airline Kogalymaviaâs desk at Pulkovo airport in St.Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, after a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard crashed. 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)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31: Relatives of passengers of Russian Airbus-321 aircraft react at Pulkovo international airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia on October 31, 2015. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, according to the Egyptian Prime Minister's office. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives react at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure, officials said. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative reacts at Pulkovo international airport outside St Petersburg after an Airbus A321 of Russian airline Kogalymavia with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Egypt has recovered the black box of the Russian airliner that crashed on October 31 in the restive Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, the prime minister's office said. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
A relative reacts at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure, officials said. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31: A relative of passengers of Russian Airbus-321 aircraft reacts at Pulkovo international airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia on October 31, 2015. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, according to the Egyptian Prime Minister's office. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives of the victims of a Russian airliner with 217 passengers and seven crew aboard has crashed, react as they gather 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 and the friends of those on the Metrojet flight that crashed in Egypt react while gathering to grieve at a hotel near St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport outside 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)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31: Relatives of passengers of Russian Airbus-321 aircraft react at Pulkovo international airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia on October 31, 2015. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, according to the Egyptian Prime Minister's office. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives wait for information at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure, officials said. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31: Relatives of passengers of Russian Airbus-321 aircraft react at Pulkovo international airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia on October 31, 2015. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, according to the Egyptian Prime Minister's office. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives wait at the Pulkovo international airport outside St. Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31, 2015. Ambulances reached the site and began evacuating 'casualties,' officials and state media reported, without elaborating on their condition. The plane took off early in the morning from the southern Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for Saint Petersburg in Russia but communication was lost 23 minutes after departure. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 31: Relatives of passengers of Russian Airbus-321 aircraft react at Pulkovo international airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia on October 31, 2015. A Russian Airbus-321 aircraft with 224 people aboard crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, according to the Egyptian Prime Minister's office. According to Egypts Civil Aviation Authority, the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St Petersburg. (Photo by Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Emirates Airlines President Tim Clark said he expected the crash would result in demands for stringent aviation security worldwide. Speaking at the Dubai Airshow, Clark said he had ordered a security review, but was not suspending any flights as a result of the disaster. Emirates does not operate regular flights to Sharm al-Sheikh.

Islamic State militants fighting security forces in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula have said they brought down the aircraft as revenge for Russian air strikes against Islamist fighters in Syria, where Islamic State controls large areas in the east and north of the country. They said they would eventually tell the world how they carried out the attack.

If the group was responsible, it would have carried out one of the highest profile killings since al Qaeda flew passenger planes into New York's World Trade Center in September 2001.

On Saturday, security officials said Egypt is checking video footage at Sharm al-Sheikh airport for any suspicious activity linked to the crash, the clearest sign yet that Cairo suspects it could have been targeted by militants.

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