2 Nov 2015

Russian plane crash due to “external activity”, airline says

A terrorist attack on the Russian plane which was brought down over the Egyptian desert cannot be ruled out, the Kremlin’s spokesman added.

Meanwhile Alexander Smirnov, the deputy general director of Metrojet, said that a technical fault with the plane could not have caused it to break up in the air, adding that it “could only have been a mechanical impact on the plane”.

Asked about the possibility of a terrorist attack Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said that no theories about the cause of the crash could be ruled out at this stage.

While experts have said that the plane was travelling too high to be hit by a missile launched from the ground they have not ruled out the possibility of an explosive planted on board the plane.

Michel Polacco, an aviation expert, has echoed comments by an anonymous Egyptian official in the civil aviation ministry quoted in The Telegraph that a bomb could have brought down the plane.

“A break-up of the plane mid-flight that results in the type of debris we have seen can only come from a serious blow to the plane’s structure,” Mr Polacco told France Info radio.

He added: “”It can be due to technical causes, but that is very unlikely and has rarely occurred. That leads us to the terrorist line of inquiry, of a bomb that can have such effects”.

Mr Smirnov told a press conference in Moscow that the only “reasonable explanation” for the crash was “external activity”.

The plane crash happened shortly after the Airbus 321 took off from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were Russian.

Early this morning a plane landed in St Petersburg carrying the remains of 140 of the victims. Identification will begin today.

A second plane carrying victims is due to leave Egypt on Monday evening, Russian officials have said. The Egyptian government said that by midday yesterday, 163 bodies had been recovered.

Metrojet said that both engines of the plane had been inspected in Moscow on October 26 and that crew had reported no problems with the aircraft in the previous

Mr Smirnov said that a previous tail strike on the aircraft had been repaired full and had no impact on the safety of the aircraft.

The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that it was important to find out reasons for the plane crash in detail.

According to regulators in Ireland where the place was registered, the plane received a certificate of airworthiness earlier this year.

The Irish Aviation Authority said the plane was registered in Ireland to Willmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd and was leased to Russian airline Kogalymavia. Under international rules, Russia was responsible for all checks on the plane.

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in St Petersburg, leaving thousands of flowers, balloons and paper planes at a growing memorial at the city’s airport. Others attended church services and lit candles in reembrace of the dead.