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Plane with 144 A321 crash victims to take off from Cairo at 23:30

November 01, 2015, 19:51 updated at: November 01, 2015, 22:56 UTC+3

The plane is expected to reach St. Petersburg at about four in the morning

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MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. A Russian emergencies ministry’s plane with 144 bodies of the A321 crash victims is ready to leave Cairo for St. Petersburg and will take off at 23:30 Moscow time, Russian Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladimir Stepanov said on Sunday.

"The plane will land in St. Petersburg at about five in the morning," he said.

"In St. Petersburg, the bodies will be taken to a crematorium where the identification procedure will take place," acting chief of the ministry’s national crisis management centre, Alexei Smirnov, said. "The ministry’s psychologists and emergency doctors are working with the relatives of the crash victims."

Deputy governor of St. Petersburg Igor Albin told TASS earlier on Sunday identification would begin on Monday morning. "Much depends on the plane’s arrival, but our services are ready," he said.

He also said more than 200 DNA samples had been taken from the crash victims’ relatives to conduct genetic expertise.

An A321 passenger jet of Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier (flight 9268) bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It felld down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. There were four Ukrainian and one Belarusian nationals among the passengers. None survived.

President Vladimir Putin declared Sunday, November 1, a day of mourning for the worst air disaster in Russian history. St. Petersburg will be mourning over the crash victims till November 3.

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