A Russian passenger plane of the Kogalymavia airline, more commonly known as Metrojet, crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, with all 224 people on board, 17 of whom were children, reportedly killed.
The aircraft, an Airbus A321, left the Sharm el-Sheikh resort in Egypt and was bound for St. Petersburg when it disappeared off the radar, 23 minutes into the flight as it was traveling at 21,000 feet. Most of the passengers were Russian tourists.
The plane was almost completely destroyed, and what was left of it was found Saturday morning by an Egyptian rescue team in southern Arish. Its black boxes have been discovered, and investigation into the cause of the crash is already under way.
Initially, there had been claims made by jihadist militants allied to IS that they were responsible for bringing the plane down. However, these were swept aside by Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail upon confirmation from aircraft experts that it would have been impossible at the altitude at which the plane was traveling. In addition, a statement from Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, appearing on a CNN report, regarding terrorists claiming to have brought the plane down with an anti-aircraft missile “cannot be considered reliable.”
Still, other airlines including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and Emirates will avoid flying over this region until the incident has been fully clarified.
And since the weather reports that day were benign over that region, this could not have been a contributing factor to this grave disaster.
On BBC, a spokesperson for the airline said that there have been no grounds to put this disaster down as human error, considering the pilot had flying experience of 12,000 hours. The plane had gone through all the security checks and a go signal given for the flight to commence.
While investigation is still ongoing, relatives of the passengers on board the flight have gathered at a hotel close to the St. Petersburg airport as they await the bodies of their loved ones, which were to be brought in Sunday.
A shrine to those who died at the crash was put up at the St. Petersburg airport.
Meanwhile, makers of the Airbus aircraft involved posted a tweet, “We are aware of the media reports.”
“Efforts are now going towards assessing the situation. We’ll provide more information as soon as available.”