Here is a news roundup of what happened to the Russian airliner that crashed over Egypt this weekend. Find out the death toll and what latest reports can be found regarding the tragic incident.
A Russian airliner crashed over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt over the weekend, carrying 224 passengers on board, including 17 children.
According to a New York Times report, all 224 passengers died when the plane crashed. The wreckage was scattered over eight square miles of the area when the plane was said to have crashed. So far, 163 bodies have been recovered. Some 100 Russian emergency workers have been deployed in the area to help with the recovery.
The plane, an Airbus A321, was operated by Kogalymavia airline with a brand name, Metrojet. All jets of the same model were grounded by the Russian authorities, until anything clear is established.
According to the same Reuters report, most of the passengers were “holiday makers” from the Red Sea, who are traveling back to St Petersburg.
Russian plane exploded midair
According to the Interfax news agency, the Russian plane crashed, but exploded earlier on-air.
Viktor Sorochenko, director of the Intergovernmental Aviation Committee said, “The destruction happened in the air, and fragments were scattered over a large area of around 20 square kilometers.” He, however, added that it’s too early to form anything from that.
Alain Bouillard, a former French accident investigator, said in the New York Times report, that a mechanical problem could not have caused such a break-up midair. He said, “A rupture in flight after a technical fault seems to me highly improbable.”
That same airplane already met a small accident back in 2001, when its tail struck the runway. It was owned by Middle East Airlines before. A former chairman of the United States National Transportation Safety Board said that an accident is most likely the case, but he also cannot rule out the possibility of terrorism.
An ISIS-affiliated terrorist group claimed responsibility over the crash. Reuters reported that it was the group’s “response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”
But the authorities said it’s far from being possible, saying that the militants in the area don’t have the capacity to shoot a plane 30,000 feet above them.
Airlines such as the Emirates, Air Arabia, and FlyDubai are re-routing their flights to avoid flying over the crash site in Sinai following the advice of the Egyptian authorities. Air France and Lufthansa have cancelled their flights over the peninsula already.