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An Airbus A321 traveling from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (SSH) to St. Petersburg, Russia (LED) crashed about 20 minutes after departure, killing 217 passengers and 7 crew members. The plane, which was similar to the one pictured above and operated by Russian airline Metrojet, also known as Kogalymavia, departed just before 6:00am. It first entered service in 1997 and had flown with the airline for the past three years, beginning in May of 2012. Before that, it had flown with Turkish airline Onur Air as TC-OAE.
According to Russian officials, the charter flight was filled with Russian tourists returning from vacation in the beach resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. While Europe has become considerably more expensive for Russians following a sharp currency drop earlier this year, Egypt is an affordable alternative. According to a New York Times report, more than 1 million Russians have vacationed in Egypt in the first six months of 2015, with week-long all-inclusive packages (including flight, hotel and meals) going for as little as $500 per person.