Russian plane crash: "external factors" blamed

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By Euronews  with Reuters, AFP
Russian plane crash: "external factors" blamed

External factors have been blamed for a Russian plane to crash on the Sinai Peninula in Egypt which claimed 224 lives.

An official for the operating airline Metrojet made the statement to journalists during a press conference.

“The only possible explanation for the break-up of an aircraft in mid-air would be an impact, either mechanical or physical,” said Metrojet Director, Alexander Smirnov.

Russian aviation authorities have described the words as “premature”. They say the cause of the crash can only be pinpointed after the wreckage and black box recorders have been examined.

Flight KGL9268 – what we know

  • The Russian Airbus A321 was 22 minutes into a flight from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia
  • There were 224 people on board. The majority were Russian tourists
  • There were also citizens of Ukraine and Belarus on board
  • The aircraft disappeared from the radar screens at 9,450 metres, just as it was reaching cruising altitude.
  • No distress signal was sent
  • A 2001 incident when the plane’s tail section struck the ground on landing was fully repaired. Experts say this could not have been a factor in the crash.

The official response

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says a full investigation into the causes of the crash is a key priority.

President Vladimir Putin has described the crash as a “great tragedy” and called on investigators to build what he has described as an “objective picture” of what happened.

The international response

The Egyptian government coordinated what was initially a rescue mission, but which quickly turned into one of recovery.

Officials were initally quoted in the press about the potential cause.

Some commentators are already drawing parallels with the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.

Russian involvement in the crisis in Syria could also be compromised by the crash in Sinai, according to some experts.