Let It All Bleed Out
Russian plane crashes in Egypt as ISIS claims responsibility
Saturday, 31 Oct 2015
A Russian passenger plane crashed in Egypt's central Sinai region early Saturday, with the aircraft found "completely destroyed" and all 224 passengers confirmed dead by local officials.
Radar lost contact with the plane, an Airbus A321-200, in Cypriot airspace about 25 minutes after it took off from the Sinai coastal resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh. Russia's Embassy in Cairo confirmed the news, saying that all of those on board had perished. The jet was en route to the city of St. Petersburg.
In a statement, Airbus confirmed that the plane was involved in an incident, adding that "the concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to all those affected by this tragic accident of Flight 7K-9268."
The plane maker said it would make "further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities for release."
In the wake of the jet's disappearance, Islamic State, in a statement on Twitter, said it had brought down the aircraft. Sinai is the scene of an insurgency by militants close to Islamic State, who have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months. Much of the Sinai is a restricted military zone.
However, Russia's minister of transportation issued a statement rejecting that idea.
"This information cannot be considered credible," said Maxim Sokolov, Russian minister of transportation. "We are in close contact with our Egyptian colleagues, with the aviation authorities of this country. At the moment they have no information that would confirm such fabrications."
Russia's Tass news agency reported that the plane had requested an emergency landing at the nearest airport shortly before disappearing from radar screen, with the captain telling air traffic controllers in Cairo that the plane was suffering a radio malfunction.
According to the Egyptian Aviation Authority, the aircraft was flying at 31,000 feet when it dropped off radar. The wreckage of the plane, which carried registration number KGL-9268, was located by an Egyptian rescue team.
The area of the crash is a desolate mountainous region called Hassana. Some Islamic militants are active in Sinai but there was no indication the plane had been shot down, the security sources told Reuters.
Nov. 1, 2015
The Airbus A321-200 had just reached a cruising altitude of about 33,000 feet when, around 20 minutes after taking off from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, it suddenly plummeted by some 6,000 feet.
Over the next 20 seconds, the airliner, which was en route to St. Petersburg, Russia, abruptly climbed and descended several times before radar contact was lost, according to preliminary transponder data published by FlightRadar24.com, a commercial company that tracks airline routes.
On Sunday, officials cited the exceptionally wide distribution of debris, over an area of approximately 20 square kilometers, or 7.7 square miles, as a strong indication that Metrojet Flight 9268 did not hit the ground intact.
“Disintegration of the fuselage took place in the air, and the fragments are scattered around a large area,” Viktor Sorochenko, director of Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, told journalists in Cairo after visiting the crash site.
According to people with knowledge of the investigation, the remains of the plane’s tail section, which had been damaged in a 2001 accident, were found several miles away from the front fuselage and cockpit. In addition, the bodies of several victims were discovered a significant distance from the main debris field, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the inquiry.
The Islamic State in the Sinai claimed responsibility, but is not known to possess surface-to-air missiles.