Mystery: Egypt plane crash was caused by ‘some sort of impact’

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Russian officials have now said publicly it is “impossible” that a technical fault or pilot error caused Saturday’s Metrojet tragedy.

Some 224 people died on board the Moscow-based airline on Saturday morning.

The Irish-owned Airbus A321-200 crashed in a remote mountainous part of the Sinai Peninsula 23 minutes after taking off from the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

With mystery continuing to surround the incident, Metrojet's Alexander Smirnov explained earlier today: "There are no circumstances where a plane can just fall apart in mid-air.

“There is no technical fault or stopping of internal systems that could lead to the aircraft's dismembering.

"If we don't take in fantastical versions that the plane can be destroyed by a change in pressure, the only plausible reason is mechanical action aimed at the plane."

Despite earlier reports from Egyptian officials, the aircraft's crew did not make any distress or SOS calls prior to the crash.

There has been growing speculation in the Russian media that Flight 7K9268 may have been destroyed by an on-board explosion.

And although politicians from Egypt, Russia and the US have previously played down the likelihood of an Islamic State-linked terrorist attack, Mr Smirnov said today that "nothing can be ruled out".

Except for three Ukrainians and one Belarusian, all of those on board were Russian. Most of them were holidaying in Sharm el-Sheikh – a resort also popular with Irish tourists. Twenty-five were children.

With a 20km radius currently being scanned, more than 170 bodies have been recovered from the crash site. The remains of 140 victims were flown to St Petersburg this morning.

Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Air France have all stopped flying over the turbulent Sinai Peninsula until more is known about what caused the crash.

Mail Online reported over the weekend that British Airways pilots were told months ago not to fly in the region below 25,000ft because of the risk of terrorist-lead strikes. 

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