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Metrojet blames ‘external factors’ for Russian plane crash - Daily News Egypt

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Metrojet blames ‘external factors’ for Russian plane crash

Gulf airlines re-routing to avoid flying over Sinai

Russian Airline Metrojet, the operator of the Russian aeroplane that crashed in Egypt on Sunday, blamed “external factors” for the plane crash.

No one from the crew made contact with the ground operators about any problems with the plane during the flight, Alexander Smirnov, Deputy General Director of Metrojet said in a press conference on Monday.

It was impossible for the plane to break up in the air due to a technical problem of a pilot’s error.

“We rule out technical fault of the plane or the pilot’s error, the only explainable cause is physical impact on the aircraft,” Smirnov said.

“The plane went out of control. It was not flying. It was falling,” Metrojet deputy CEO Viktor Yung said. By that time it suffered considerable damage that stopped it from continuing the flight. No combination of failures in the plane’s systems could have caused the plane to disintegrate in the air, he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that no causes can be ruled out and urged journalists to wait for the investigation results.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for thorough investigations to uncover the cause of the plane crash.

“Without any doubt, everything should be done for the bigger picture so we can find out what happened and reacted accordingly. Investigations should continue until we are fully confident that it has been thorough,” Russian official news Agency TASS reported Putin as saying.

Islamic State (IS) affiliated militia in Sinai claimed they brought the aircraft down; however the idea was dismissed by Russian officials.

The two black boxes of the Russian aircraft will be sent to Moscow for inspection, Russian Ambassador in Egypt Serge Kirpichenko said in a press conference Sunday. He said there is full collaboration between Russia and Egypt to discover the cause of the accident.

A Russian cargo plane carrying 140 of the 217 bodies of the crash victims arrived at St. Petersburg’s airport in Russia early Monday. Another plane carrying the remaining bodies will leave Cairo late Monday, Russian Minister of Emergency Vladimir Puchkov said in a televised news conference.

Relatives of the victims offered their DNA samples in a centre close to St. Petersburg’s Airport to help identify the bodies. Russia will use drones to search for missing bodies in Sinai, a Russian official told the state-owned TV channel Russia Today. The search for the missing bodies is being carried out over a 9km radius of the crash site, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement.

Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, Bahrain’s Gulf Airline, and Kuwaiti Aljazeera Airlines announced they will bypass flying over Sinai as a security precaution until more information is revealed about the cause of the Russian aircraft crash.

Russian Ural Airlines also changed their flight routes to Sharm El-Sheikh, a Russian official news agency TASS reported. “All flights are carried out in circumvention of the Sinai Peninsula in connection with the requirements of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation,” said a company spokesperson.

Reporting by Ahmed Abbas

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