In an alarming incident, a Russian airliner crashed into a mountain area of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, with an affiliate of the Islamic State claiming responsibility for it. The incident once again renews spotlight on the issue of safety of airliners.
The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the Sinai Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it crashed in a desolate mountainous region of central Sinai region. All 224 passengers aboard the ill-fated aircraft died.
A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane, in a statement circulated by supporters on Twitter. “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God,” claimed the Aamaq website, which acts as a semi official news agency for Islamic State.
Aviation experts have rubbished the claims of involvement of the Islamic State saying the crash was due to a technical issue. “The Russian Embassy in Cairo said it had been told by Egyptian officials the pilot had been trying to make an emergency landing at El-Arish.”
The role of the IS has intensified in the Sinai peninsula where hundreds of Egyptian army soldiers and police have been killed. The involvement of Russian troops in Syria to combat the IS has also escalated the rivalry between Russia and IS.
Russian jet broke up in air
According to experts investigating the reason for the crash, the plane broke up “in the air”. “The disintegration happened in the air and the fragments are strewn over a large area,” said Viktor Sorochenko, a senior official with Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee. “Too early to draw conclusions” about what caused the flight from the Red Sea holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg to crash, added MR Sorochenko.
The contents of the blackbox flight recorders were being analysed. “In such cases leave it to specialists to determine the cause of the plane crash because it is a subject of an extensive and complicated technical study,” Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said. Two air accident investigators from France, Airbus’s home country, were also due in Egypt along with six experts from the aerospace giant are investigating the matter.
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