Remains of the Russian passenger plane that
Remains of the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula Getty Images

Thousands of Britons stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh are anxiously awaiting updates from the UK government, after it suspended all flights to and from the Red Sea resort over safety concerns. Downing Street said the decision was taken as there was evidence indicating the Russian plane, which flew out of the resort, might have been downed by an "explosive device".

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said British holidaymakers will be allowed to board flights back home after security at Sharm el-Sheikh's airport is tightened to a satisfactory level.

Hammond suggested repatriations could start as soon as on 6 November. "The airline industry is indicating that they expect by tomorrow to be in a position to start bringing people out," he said.

He added the government, which has deployed a team of security and defence experts to the area, "will do whatever is necessary" to ensure the safe return of all British nationals.

"If we have to send in additional personnel, additional equipment, if we have to have unusual handling for returning those flights, we will do so, regardless of the cost, regardless of the delay, regardless of the inconvenience, " he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The Egyptian branch of Islamic State (Isis) has claimed it brought down Metrojet's flight 7K9268 to St Petersburg, killing all 224 people on board on 31 October.

Meanwhile, up to 20,000 Britons are stuck in the popular diving resort in the south of Egypt's restive Sinai peninsula. Jared Ashworth was due to fly back to the UK on 4 November when his flight was suddenly cancelled.

"We were queuing up to board the plane, at which point the news came through from the UK that they were grounding flights, so after spending about three hours at the airport we've been bussed back to our hotel, and that's where we are at the moment," he told the BBC.

"While we were sat at the hotel, the lady from the embassy was telling us what was going on, but this morning we've not seen or heard from anybody. All we know is what we've managed to find on the internet, from the airline, from your website and things like that."

Ashworth said he had "no idea" when he will be allowed to fly home and is a little worried about flying again. "Obviously it's worrying, but I think now that they're putting all this in place I think it will probably be the safest plane going from anywhere.

Amy Watson, another British holidaymaker, was due to end her 10-day vacation on 6 November but is now stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh.

She told LBC that the government decision to ground all flights caused panic among tourists. "There are loads of panicked people... to hear the news that another plane has come down is quite stressing," she said.

Some took to social media to vent their preoccupation at the uncertain situation.

Others instead tried to take the best out of their forced prolonged stay in the resort.