Unanswered questions continue to plague investigations surrounding the crash of Flight 9268 in Egypt on Saturday. Various reports indicate a problem with the plane yet a terror group has claimed responsibility for the crash that killed hundreds. What really caused the plane to plunge to its doom from 30,000 feet above the ground?
The bodies of 224 deceased passengers who were in Kogalymavia Flight 9268 when it crashed into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday morning are expected to arrive in Russia on Sunday.
The airliner, an Airbus A321-200, broke into pieces while in the air, just 23 minutes after takeoff, and crashed into the remote area of Sinai, Egypt. All 217 passengers and 7 crew members onboard were killed. 25 of the passengers were children.
According to Viktor Sorochenko, Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee executive director, “Disintegration of the fuselage took place in the air, and the fragments are scattered around a large area (about 20 square kilometers).”
Footage from the scene of the crash showed mangled wreckage and luggage strewn across the flat region. 213 of the passengers onboard were Russians returning from vacation. Four passengers were Ukrainian.
Egyptian Airports Co. chief executive Adel Al-Mahjoob reported that the crash was most likely as a result of a technical failure. This is even though the plane passed a routine check before taking off.
Russian media reports indicate that the pilot had reported technical problems and had requested to land in the nearest airport before the plane went missing. Egyptian authorities have dismissed the claim, in turn urging people to avoid speculation until investigations were complete.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said, “These are complicated matters that require advanced technologies and wide investigations that might go on for months.”
Air traffic control recordings did not feature any distress calls from the aircraft, indicating the pilot may have not made the call. Egyptian Civil Aviation Secretary Hossam Kamel said, “There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash. It suddenly disappeared from the radar.”
Aviation experts said it was strange and unusual for a plane to go down barely 25 minutes into taking flight. According to Richard Quest, an aviation expert, “At this point, a plane is on autopilot. It’s reaching its initial cruising altitude, and there is little that can or should go wrong.” So could the crash have been triggered by an outside force?
ISIS affiliated militants in the battle-prone Sinai peninsula have claimed responsibility for the crash through an online statement in jihadist forums. The group claims they used anti-aircraft missiles to bring down the plane, a claim that has also been dismissed by Egyptian authorities.
Egyptian authorities said the militants only use shoulder-fired missiles which have a range of 14,000 feet, a far cry from the 30,000 feet the aircraft was flying above.
A ray of light into the investigations was found when the plane’s two black boxes were recovered and sent to the country’s capital, Cairo, for analysis. The devices hold information with regard to flight data recordings and cockpit voice recordings. Authorities hope the recordings will finally answer the question as to what brought down Flight 9268 that Saturday morning.