Saturday, October 31, 2015

Russian Jet Crashes in Egypt, Killing 224 People (VIDEO)

Boy, you can bet there's going to be monstrous conspiracy theories.

At WSJ, "Russian Passenger Jet Crashes in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Killing 224 People":

A Russian passenger jet crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, after losing contact with aviation authorities on Saturday.

Egyptian officials said the Airbus A321 jetliner, which was operated by Russian carrier Kogalymavia, was flying to St. Petersburg from Sharm El Sheikh, a resort town popular with Russian tourists, when it disappeared from radar screens.

Egypt’s flagship state-run newspaper, Al Ahram, quoted an Egyptian aviation official as saying the plane’s pilot had requested to land at the nearest airport after an unspecified mechanical problem shortly after taking off at 5:50 a.m. local time. The newspaper later cited another Egyptian aviation official as saying the pilot hadn’t made any distress calls or requests to land.

Egypt’s chief prosecutor said the cause of the crash was being investigated. He didn’t say whether terrorism was suspected.

Sinai Province, the Egyptian branch of Islamic State, claimed responsibility for downing the plane, but officials have cast doubt over whether the group has the capabilities to carry out such an attack. Islamic State and its affiliated groups have frequently made exaggerated claims.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to form a state commission to investigate the crash, the Kremlin said Saturday.

The Russian Embassy in Cairo said on its official Twitter account that all those on board were killed.

Mr. Putin “expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of those who died in the crash.”

The wreckage was located south of the city of Al Arish in the sparsely populated, mountainous north Sinai, according to the aviation authority. As many as 50 ambulances were dispatched, it said.

A spokesman for Egypt’s prime minister said 15 bodies had been recovered and sent to a morgue in Cairo, while investigators continued to search the crash site for evidence and victims. One of the black boxes, which record flight data and audio, was located and taken into the custody of the prosecutor general’s office, he said.

According to the spokesman, the passengers comprised 214 Russians and three Ukrainians, of which 138 were women, 62 men and 17 children. The count didn’t include the seven crew members.

According to the Kremlin, Vladimir Puchkov, Russia’s minister of civil defense, emergencies and disaster relief, was ordered to send aircraft to Egypt to aid in the recovery of the wreckage of the aircraft. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said five aircraft were flying to Egypt with first responders and forensic investigators on board. The ministry also set up a hot line to aid families of the victims.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in March warned U.S. airlines to avoid flying over the Sinai Peninsula below 26,000 feet. Airline routes traversing the region “are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons,” the FAA said, including shorter-range, shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles. “Some of these weapons have the capability to target aircraft at high altitudes,” or when approaching or departing airports, the U.S. aviation regulator said, noting that an Egyptian military helicopter flying at lower altitudes had been downed by extremists using a missile...

Also at Russia Today, "Bodies of 224 7K9268 crash victims delivered to Cairo morgue," and "Russian A321 fell 'almost vertically', technical fault behind crash."