Relatives of those on the Russian passenger plane that came down in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday morning have been gathering at a hotel near Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg.
A large proportion of the 224 board on the crashed jet were from the western Russian city, according to a senior local official.
Psychologists have been on hand to help those coping with the tragedy.
“I was on my way to meet my wife,” said the relative of a passenger on board the downed jet. “I found out that the plane had crashed after receiving a phone call on my way to the airport,” he added.
The accident is the worst air disaster in Russian history.
According to a spokesman for the operating airline Kogalymavia, the Airbus A321 had been through all the safety checks and the pilots were experienced.
As the first of the victim’s bodies was due to arrive home in St.Petersburg, one resident offered her “condolences to the friends and relatives who in one instant lost their children, sons, mothers and wives. It’s horrible,” she added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Sunday a day of mourning.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, flowers were left at the Russian embassy in Kyiv in an act of solidarity with the victims of the accident.
Three of those on board were Ukrainians.
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