02 November 2015

224 Dead in Tragic Egyptian Plane Crash

Plane Crash
It was just announced by Russian Minister of Transportation Maxim Sokolov that rumors about the Airbus A321 being shot down by Islamic State terrorists are still unconfirmed.

A few hours ago, the Egyptian group associated with ISIL has claimed responsibility for the tragedy, but has offered no evidence. The BBC reports that the group does not have the capability to bring down a plane and authorities are skeptical.

"I want to repeat that according to the data that we have available at the moment, based on our work contacts with the Egyptian side, the information asserting that the plane was shot down can not be considered reliable," Sokolov was quoted by the Russian newspaper Pravda.

There is no evidence yet as to what caused the crash, though both black boxes have been recovered. Russia has opened a second investigation into the crash and authorities, including the head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry and Transportation Ministry, are heading to Egypt.

Two major airlines, Air France and Lufthansa, stated that they will avoid routes that cross the region until the cause of the crash is known. Family members of those on board Flight KGL9268 are gathering in the St. Petersburg airport for support and DNA samples.

A Russian airliner crashed in Egypt early 31 October, killing all 224 people aboard.

The Airbus plane disappeared from the radar shortly after taking off from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, The New York Times reported. Wreckage from the St. Petersburg-bound flight was discovered in the area of the Sinai peninsula. One official described a "tragic scene," with bodies still strapped to their seats, according to Reuters.

The flight was carrying 217 passengers, including 17 children and seven crew members, according to the BBC. Most of the passengers were believed to be tourists. Almost all were Russian.

The cause of the crash is unclear. But several reports indicate that the pilot requested an emergency landing before the crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the crash. He declared a day of mourning.