According to the Associated Press:

“I now see a tragic scene,” an Egyptian security officer told Reuters from the crash site. “A lot of dead on the ground and many who died whilst strapped to their seats.” 

The plane, he continued, “split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside.”

A statement issued by Kogalymavia cited by the Guardian says the company believes there is “no grounds” as yet to believe the disaster was caused by human error, but so far neither authorities in Egypt or Russia are publicly speculating about what may have caused the plane to fall from the sky.

The tragedy comes amid heightened political tensions in the Middle East, with Moscow recently escalating its military footprint in Syria and as diplomatic teams from key regional powers—including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and others—concluded two days of talks in Vienna with delegations from the EU, U.S. and Russia.

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