Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church last evening issued a statement offering his condolences and those of the Church for the victims of the Russian plane which crashed over the Sinai Peninsula during the dawn hours of Saurday 31 October.
The plane was an Airbus A321 operated as a charter jet by the Russian company Metrojet, and had taken off from Sharm al-Sheikh International airport 23 minutes before it disappeared off air control radar screens. All 224 passengers and crew members who had been flying to St Petersburg lost their lives. Preliminary investigations point at technical failure as the cause of the crash; the Black Box should reveal what actually took place before the plane met its fate. Terrorist action by Islamist militants in Sinai has been ruled out, since the plane was flying at an altitude of some 30,000 feet when it crashed.
Pope Tawadros’s statement said: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the
Russian people and government for the persons who lost their lives in the of crash of the Russian passenger
plane that came down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday.
“Russia and Egypt,” the statement said, “are bound by a historic deep-rooted
relationship. We ask the Lord to grant the victims’ families
comfort and peace.”
The Council of Egypt’s Churches also issued a statement of condolence which said: “The Council of Egypt’s Churches has received with pain the news of the Russian plane crash. We extend our sincere condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian people and government, and the families of the victims.”