Mid-air blast possible cause of Russian plane crash: analysis
The nature of passengers’ injuries from the Russian jet that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Saturday point to an explosion aboard before the plane hit the ground, an Egyptian doctor who examined the bodies said, Sputnik news agency reported.
A DNA analysis would be required to identify the victims of the Russian A321 airliner crash in Egypt, the expert added.
Earlier, Russian tabloid LifeNews claimed to have obtained the results of a forensic medical examination that allegedly stated that the passengers “in the tail section of the liner died because of so-called blast injuries.”
According to the broadcaster, they were diagnosed with burns of over 90%, with experts noting particles of metal and aircraft covering piercing the bodies of the deceased.
The people in the front part of the plane died from different causes, including blood loss, shock, open head injuries and multiple fractures, it added.
There have been no official announcements made so far on the results of forensic medical examination of the crash victims.
The Russian airline Kogalymavia’s jet crashed in Sinai Peninsula en route to St. Petersburg from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh Saturday.
All 224 people aboard were killed, making it the deadliest civilian aircraft disaster in Russian and Soviet history.
Since the crash on October 31, several possible causes of the Sinai tragedy were discussed by experts.
Islamic State (IS) attempted to claim responsibility for the incident, saying that it brought the plane down as retaliation for Russian air operation against the terrorists in Syria.
However, many experts rejected the claim, saying that the jihadists only possessed portable air defense systems with no capability to reach the high-flying Airbus.
An explosion of a bomb aboard the plane was mentioned as another possible cause of the crash.
US global intelligence company Stratfor said that Egyptian security personnel often take bribes for allowing passengers to avoid checks, with cargo security screenings in the country also not being strict enough.
There was also speculation that corrosion of parts of the plane could have caused the crash, backed by claims by the Egyptian authorities that the Russian airliner broke up in the air.
The journalist also found out that the Airbus A321 struck its tail on a runaway during an unsuccessful landing in 2001. It was later repaired, but some experts believe the lasting damage could have causing the crash in Egypt.
Russian first class pilot Andrei Litvinov shared his belief with Kommersant newspaper that the Sinai tragedy happened due to “old metal parts, an old aircraft that was already damaged.”
Human error was also mentioned among the early explanations for the incident, but this was quickly rejected.
Unusual sounds recorded
Unusual sounds were recorded in the cockpit of the jet, Russia’s Interfax news agency said.
The news came after revelations by US broadcasters that satellite images had detected a heat flash at the time of the crash.
“Before the moment of the disappearance of the aircraft from radar screens, sounds are recorded which are not characteristic of a normal flight,” Interfax quoted an unnamed security source in Cairo as saying.
Shortly beforehand, there were normal conversations between pilots and air-traffic controllers with no evidence of irregularities as Russian tourists flew home from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg.
US satellites recorded a heat flash over Sinai at the time of the crash, several US television networks reported, but there was no evidence of a rocket launch.