A charter company Airbus A321 crashed yesterday morning, on Saturday, 31 October, in the Sinai Peninsula with 217 passengers and 7 crew members onboard, the majority of whom were Russian. The aircraft, which tookoff around 03:45h UTC from the Charm El Sheikh airport ( extreme southern Sinai ) for St Petersburg, disappeared from radar screens about 35 minutes later at an altitude of 30,000 ft. The plane was operated by the small Russian charter company Metrojet since 2012. According to an official statement from Airbus, the aircraft was produced in 1997. It had accumulated 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights.
Whether due to technical problems, or terrorist action, it is obviously too early to know why this latest air drama occurred. What we do know, at present, is that the pilot had complained of a technical failure. Furthermore, the Egyptian branch of Daesh have claimed to have shot down the Airbus A321, although the Russian Minister of Transport, Maxim Sokolov, was quick to reject this hypothesis. As always in such cases, a large number of hypotheses have been put forward. Russian expert said today that the aircraft broke apart in the air: "desintegration of the fuselage took place in the air since the debris are scattered around a very large area".
The black boxes, which have been recovered, will quickly confirm whether any particular hypothesis is true. The first bodies have been removed from the debris and transported to mortuaries in Cairo. Research operation for the remainder of the victims continues in a remote area in Sinai. As a precaution, Lufthansa, Air France and Emirates have indicated that they have stopped overflying the Sinai area until further notice. Other airlines may take the same decision.
Investigators from the French office of investigations and analyses (BEA), accompanied by their German counterparts, and Airbus technical advisors, will soon be insitu to participate in the investigation together with the Russian Investigation Bureau (MAK). The Egyptian Civil Aviation authorities have begun an enquiry. Sunday 1st November was declared a national day of mourning in Russia.