Tuesday, November 03, 2015: Investigations into the Metrojet crash on Saturday are underway, probing the cause of the passenger plane to plunge in the air and crash in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. The latest reports pouring in suggest that the airplane may have crashed due to technical faults or complete failure of a mechanical component.
The airline however, is maintaining its stance that technical failure or human error could not have caused the airplane to crash but the investigation will have the final verdict on the exact cause of the incident which cost the lives of 217 passengers.
The airline says that the protective equipment onboard would have prevented the plane to crash at any cost, even if there were failures in pilot’s control equipment.
“Therefore the only reason that could explain the plane’s breaking up in midair can be a certain impact, a purely mechanical (and/or) physical impact on (the) flying vessel,” Alexander Smirnov, a Metrojet official said.
As the investigations are probing the cause of the plane crash, US officials have released a statement saying that one of the US satellites that were over Sinai at the time detected a heat signature on the plane. Some analysts are of the opinion that this signature may have been the cause of the plane crash. However, others say that it might have been the effect of one of any physical or mechanical failures.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to open a formal investigation of the incident that resulted in the deaths of 217 passengers. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ensured the Russian government of the widest possible investigation. The team will include French and German officials as the plane was manufactured in France and Germany in 1997. The engine was assembled in the US and if the investigation raises any flags on engine functioning, U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will dispatch its team to the site as well.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has also claimed responsibility for the crash, indicating that it fired an anti-aircraft missile that tore the plane in half. However, the investigation team says that the crash was caused by an anti-aircraft missile is unlikely as the ISIS operating in Sinai Peninsula only has anti-aircraft missiles that can only go as far as 14,000 feet in the air, whereas the aircraft went off the radar at 30,000 feet in the air. The possibility of a terrorist attack cannot be discarded but it is very unlikely.
The aircraft took off from Sharm el-Sheikh, a tourist resort in the Sinai Peninsula that attracts visitors from all over the world especially at the start of the winter season, bound for St. Petersburg in Russia. It carried 217 passengers, out of whom 25 were children. The Russian authorities have released the flight manifest; 209 were Russians, four were Ukrainian and one was Belarusian. Most of the passengers, the officials say were couples who were on their way back to Russia after a vacation at the resort.
The black boxes from the plane have been retrieved but have not been read or recorded yet, the officials said in the statement.