A Russian airliner “broke up in mid-air,” according to the head of Russia’s Air Transport Agency, Aleksandr Neradko, who stated that “all signs attest to the fact that the aircraft disintegrated in the air at a high altitude.”  All 224 people on board were killed.

CNN reports:

A Russian passenger plane crashed early Saturday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people aboard, officials said.

Russian state media reported that many of the 217 passengers on Kogalymavia Flight 9268 were Russians returning from vacation. The passenger manifest included 17 children but Russian officials said there were 25 aboard. There were seven crew members.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin tweeted that four victims were Ukrainian nationals.

The cause of the crash still is unknown, but it is most likely due to a technical failure, and there is no evidence of any terrorist action, Egyptian Airports Co. chief Adel Al-Mahjoob told CNN Arabic.

Early reports indicated that an ISIS-affiliated terrorist group claimed responsibility for the crash on Twitter, but Russian and Egyptian officials dismissed these claims, stating there is no evidence of terrorism, but there are questions about whether or not the pilot indicated any problems prior to the plane breaking apart.

CNN reports:

Russian media outlets said that the pilot reported technical problems and requested a landing at the nearest airport before the plane went missing, but Egyptian authorities disputed that claim.

Air traffic control recordings don’t show any distress calls, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said at a news conference.

“There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash,” he said. “It suddenly disappeared from the radar.”

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has declared today a national day of mourning.

According to the above report, officials have already found the plane’s black box, so answers should be forthcoming.  We’ll keep you posted.