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Friday, November 6, 2015

Russian airplane crash: Black boxes analysis indicates the bomb was the most plausible cause of the crash over Sinai

The debris of the Russian airplane in Sinai and Egyptian
soldiers patrolling the area
(Image: The Guardian)
An initial analysis of the black boxes data of the Russian Metrojet airplane crashed on Saturday, 31 October, over Egyptian Sinai, indicates that the bomb explosion was the most plausible cause of the crash, according to the reports of Egyptian officials close to the investigation of the tragedy.

Egyptian, Russian, German and French specialists work in the special investigation committee in order to find out the cause of the terrible tragedy with the Russian civilian jet that was carrying mostly Russian tourists and was on the route from the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh to Russian St. Petersburg. 224 people on the board died in the airplane crash, there were no survivors.

The initial reports of the Egyptian side claimed that the engine explosion could have caused the tragedy. as the data analysis of the black boxes showed the sounds and noises unusual for the normal flight. US and United Kingdom though made official statements earlier on Thursday that the bomb could be the cause of the airplane clash. US claimed their statement was based on the intelligence service data and satellite images indicating the flash of heat in the place of the crash and exactly at the time of the tragedy.

Debris of the Russian airplane crashed over Sinai and members
of an investigation team
(Image: BBC)
UK officials also claimed they have intelligence evidences of the blast as a cause of the tragedy. UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who met with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in London, stated that safety of British citizens is a priority for the British government, that is why the country is launching special flights to Sharm El-Sheikh in order to evacuate its citizens. The flights of British airlines were flying to Sharm El-Sheikh were also stopped until the reasons of the tragedy won't be established.

It's worth mentioning that UK, Germany, France, Ireland and Ukraine have temporarily stopped flights of Sinai and Sharm El-Sheikh. Russian government issued an official statement regarding halting of flights to Sinai only on Friday, 6 November.

Russian in its turn was concerned over US and UK claims that the bomb was the cause of the crash and called these statements premature and inaccurate and not based on evidence, according to the Kremlin representatives.

Though on Friday, 6 November, Egyptian officials working in the investigative teams stated that the black boxes data show the bomb explosion was the most plausible cause of the airplane crash. The both black boxes did not indicate any usual data, the cabin crew also did not mention any problems and did not send any emergency signals, when suddenly the data recording of the both black boxes stopped at the same time, after 24 minutes of flight, with the clear sound of an explosion recorded by the flight data recorder, stated Egyptian official. 

Investigation team workling on the crash site
(Image: The Telegraph)
Thus, the version of the bomb explosion that was among the most discussed version in media during the recent days appears to be the most plausible one. The bomb could be probably placed in the luggage space of the airplane, though there were still no officials statements whether it was a terrorist act.

Egyptian Sinai based group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis affiliated with ISIS earlier claimed responsibility for the downing of Russian jet, though the group did not provide any evidence of its involvement. Both Russia and Egypt ruled out the possibility of ISIS responsibility for the plane crash, as ISIS affiliated groups based in Sinai are actually guerilla groups and don't possess weapons capable of targeting the plane on its cruising altitude.

ISIS though published the second message claiming the group's responsibility for downing of the Russian airplane, but yet again with no evidence, which is uncharacteristic for the group.

Meanwhile, Russian Presidential spokesperson Mr. Peskov again ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack in his official statement claiming the decision of Russian authorities to halt flights to Sharm El-Sheikh did not mean that the explosion was a terrorist attack and that it is necessary to wait till the final results of the investigation will be available.