Portsmouth mum one of thousands of Britons stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh following Russian plane disaster

Sarah Cotterill from Portsmouth who is stranded at Sharm el-Sheikh airport after flights to the UK were suspended''''Picture:BBC News
Sarah Cotterill from Portsmouth who is stranded at Sharm el-Sheikh airport after flights to the UK were suspended''''Picture:BBC News
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A PORTSMOUTH mum is one of thousands of tourists stranded at an Egyptian airport amid growing fears that a bomb brought down a Russian plane in the country.

The Airbus A321 was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, in Russia, on Saturday when it crashed and all 224 people onboard were killed.

We were meant to fly back with EasyJet to Gatwick this evening, but our flight has been grounded due to security concerns.

Portsmouth mum Sarah Cotterill

Flights in and out of the Egyptian resort have been halted following a review of security by the UK government – leaving about 20,000 Britons grounded with no idea as to when they’ll be able to fly home.

Portsmouth mother Sarah Cotterill appeared on TV with her family tonight to talk of the situation they faced.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Cotterill – a former pupil at Mayfield School – said: ‘We were meant to fly back with EasyJet to Gatwick this evening, but our flight was grounded due to security concerns.

‘We were stood in the queue waiting to get on the plane when they told us to move on and sit down because we weren’t going anywhere.’

But the UK’s move to suspend flights from Sharm el-Sheikh and carry out safety checks at the resort’s airport amid fears that a bomb caused the crash has been criticised by Egypt.

A specialist British team has been sent to assess security arrangements after fresh intelligence led Downing Street to declare the Airbus plane carrying 224 passengers ‘may well have been brought down by an explosive device’.

But Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said that was ‘a premature and unwarranted statement’ which risked devastating consequences for the country’s tourism industry.

The ‘precautionary’ measure was revealed by Number 10 as Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrived in the UK for a scheduled visit, due to include talks with David Cameron today.

All those on board – mostly Russian tourists – were killed when the Metrojet flight bound for St Petersburg from Sharm came down in the Sinai desert on Saturday.

The nature of the crash and the lack of an SOS call have fuelled speculation that it was caused by a bomb or missile, although Cairo has sought to dismiss claims that the crash was the work of Islamist terrorists.