Airplanes disappearing in mid air and later crashing under mysterious circumstances has been a cycle that has been plaguing airlines year after year. While debris of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 were found recently and the case of flight MH17, which was allegedly shot down by pro Russian rebels in Ukraine, remains unsolved, there has been another controversial incident in Egypt's unstable Sinai peninsula.

A Russian civilian airliner, crashed in central Sinai with about 217 people on board. Here's all there is to know about the tragedy.

The airliner A-321 belonged to a Siberia based airline named Kogalymavia, and took off from Sharm-Al-Sheikh at 9:21 am IST.

The plane had 217 people on board, including 17 children and seven crew members. Most passengers were tourists, almost all Russians.

The flight was expected to land at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo airport 5:21 pm IST, but went off the radar in mid air, and started dropping rapidly from a 31000 ft altitude, going down 4200 ft in one minute before coverage was lost.

The crash was instantly gripped by controversy since the region has a strong presence of Islamic State linked militant groups, and Russia has been engaged in a military campaign against the extremist organisation.

There were also contradictory reports saying that the aircraft vanished over Cyprus, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an official investigation into the matter.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail cleared the air by issuing a statement saying, "Russian civilian plane, crashed in the central Sinai".

As of now it has been confirmed that the tragic disaster was an aircrash, and that it was not shot down, since the altitude the plane was at made it impossible to strike it from the ground.

An official was quoted by the al-Ahram newspaper that the pilot had detected a technical fault and asked for emergency landing.

It has been reported that the plane has split in two and bodies have been found strapped to their seat in one section.

While deaths of five children have been confirmed, the rescue team heard voices of people from another section of the aircraft, as 50 ambulances have been dispatched to the crash site.

The exact death toll of the accident is yet to be declared by officials.