Metrojet fleet grounded after crash kills all 224 on board A321

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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — The Russian air carrier whose plane crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has been ordered by Russia's air safety regulator to suspend service pending the ongoing investigation of the crash that killed all 224 people aboard.

The Airbus A321-200 charter jet heading to St. Petersburg crashed Saturday in the restive Sinai Peninsula. It went down 23 minutes after taking off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Metrojet's fleet of Airbus A321s is now grounded.

Russian officials are now at the site. Russia has dismissed a claim of responsibility by militants. Russia's Emergencies Ministry says it has sent more than 100 emergency workers to help search for bodies and examine debris.

Spokeswoman Zhanna Terekhova says Sunday that Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and Alexander Neradko, the head of the state civil aviation agency, will also be shown the plane's data and cockpit voice recorders.

An Egyptian official who inspected the plane before takeoff says it was in good technical condition, contradicting the wife of the co-pilot, who said her husband had complained about the plane.

Dubai-based Emirates, the Middle East's biggest carrier, is the latest airline to stop flying over the area. Two major European airlines, Germany's Lufthansa and Air France, also stopped using the airspace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered his condolences to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people.

Hundreds of people are bringing flowers and pictures to St. Petersburg's airport to commemorate the 224 victims.

Elena Vikhareva, 48, came Sunday with her son to lay flowers, saying "pain is piercing her heart" even though she had no relatives on the plane. Vladimir Povarov, 19, brought flowers with a friend, saying "we couldn't remain indifferent."

Other people were bringing planes made of paper, soft toys and pictures of the victims.


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