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All passengers dead’ as Russian airliner crashes in Egypt’s Sinai

Published: 22:45 October 31, 2015

Agencies
November 1, 2015 | Last updated 4 minutes ago

 

 

All passengers on the Russian flight from Egypt died when the plane crashed in the Sinai peninsula Saturday, the Russian embassy said in a statement

  • Egypt PM Sherif Ismail (R) at the site of the wreckage of a crashed Russian airliner in HassanaImage Credit: AFP
  • Emergency workers unload bodies of victims from the crash of a Russian aircraft from a police helicopter.Image Credit: AP
  • Relatives react at Pulkovo international airport outside Saint Petersburg after a Russian plane with 224 peoplImage Credit: AFP
  • Relatives react after a Russian airliner crashed
    Relatives react after a Russian airliner crashed, as people gather at an information desk in Russia.Image Credit: AP

Paris: Air France and Lufthansa said Saturday they will stop flying over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula after a Russian passenger plane went down in the area with the loss of all 224 people on board.

The airlines said they were taking the measure as a precaution while the cause of the Russian crash was investigated.

The Daesh affiliate in Egypt has said it downed the plane, without saying how, but Russia’s transport minister said the claim “cannot be considered accurate” and an Egyptian security official said the plane did not crash because of an attack.

An Air France spokesperson told AFP they would not fly over Sinai until further notice, “as a precaution” while “clarification” was sought over why the Russian charter plane crashed.

Lufthansa told the German newspaper Die Welt it was taking the same measure for the same reason.

Military experts have told AFP that Daesh terrorists in Sinai do not have weapons capable of hitting an aircraft at 30,000 feet (9,000 metres), the altitude of the airliner when it lost contact.

But they have not ruled out a bomb on board or the possibility that the plane was hit by a rocket as it descended because of technical problems.

A senior Egyptian air traffic control official said the pilot of the Airbus A321 told him in their last communication that he had radio trouble.

 

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Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:43PM
Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

 

Moscow and Cairo have denied claims by the Daesh Takfiri group’s Egyptian affiliate to have downed a Russian aircraft that crashed in North Sinai with more than 200 passengers on board.

“Now in various media there is assorted information that the Russian passenger (plane)… was supposedly shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, fired by terrorists. This information can’t be considered accurate,” Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said on Saturday.

“We are in close contact with our Egyptian colleagues and aviation authorities in the country. At present, they have no information that would confirm such insinuations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Samir, Egypt’s army spokesman, also refuted the claim by the Takfiri group, saying that “the army sees no authenticity” to the terrorists claims or videos.

“They can put out whatever statements they want but there is no proof at this point that terrorists were responsible for this plane crash” he said.

“We will know the true reasons when the civil aviation authority in coordination with Russian authorities completes its investigation,” he added.

An Egyptian soldier and rescue crew transfer the body of a victim of a plane crash, from a civil police helicopter to an ambulance at Kabrit airport in Suez, east of Cairo, Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)

 

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Terrorists, non-state actors had no capacity to down Russian plane, security & aviation experts say

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail looks at the remains of a Russian airliner after it crashed in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. © Reuters
While the investigation into the causes of the Russian passenger jet crash over the Sinai Peninsula continues, civil aviation and security experts agree that theories that the plane was downed by a militant group can be ruled out, despite terrorists making such claims.

All 224 people on board the Kolavia airline’s flight from resort area Sharm El-Sheikh to Russia’s St. Petersburg died after the aircraft crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. Experts are still decoding the flight recorders, and the Russian Air Transport Agency has said that there is no point in hypothesizing about the cause of the crash until there is reliable data on the circumstances.

LIVE UPDATES: Russian passenger jet crashes over Sinai

While Islamic State jihadist group allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it downed the Airbus A321 as retaliation for Russia’s airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria, aviation and security experts believe it to be highly unlikely.

“As far as it’s known, Islamic State and its affiliate groups don’t have the capability to bring down aircraft flying at the height that this aircraft reportedly was, which is something around 10,000 meters,” security analyst and former UK counter-terrorism officer Charles Shoebridge told RT.

 

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