Officials Deny Claims Islamic State Brought Down Russian Passenger Aircraft

Officials dismissed claims the Islamic State extremist group brought down a Russian airliner in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 aboard. Photo by Aktug Ates/cc

CAIRO, Nov. 1 (UPI) — Egyptian and Russian officials dismissed claims an Islamic State-affiliated military group brought down a Russian airliner in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 aboard.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail and Russian transport minister MaksimSokolov said it is doubtful the group shot down the Airbus A-321, operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia and branded as Metrojet, at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Investigators said they have found both flight data recorders, commonly known as black box records. Egyptian officials said the crash was likely due to technical failure.

“Experts have affirmed that technically planes at this altitude cannot be shot down, and the black box will be the one that will reveal the reasons for the crash,” Ismail said.

All 214 passengers, including 25 children, on board were Russian, authorities said. So far 174 bodies have been recovered and are being transporrted to Russia.

The plane departed the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh early Saturday for St. Petersburg, Russia. The control tower lost contact with the plane 23 minutes after takeoff and it disappeared from radar. There is conflicting information from Egyptian and Russian authorities about claims the pilot put out a distress call prior to the crash.

Viktor Sorochenko, executive director of Russia’s International Aviation Committee, said the debris field covers an eight square mile area, indicating the aircraft broke up in the air. The wife of the copilot of the Airbus said her husband had complained about the mechanical condition of the plane.

Flight Radar 24, a flight tracking service, said the plane descended sharply at 6,000 feet a minute when it disappeared from radar.


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