Subdivision Tips, South Australia (C: +61431138537), https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Russian airliner with 224 aboard crashes in Egypt's Sinai, all killed

Reuters Menu Search Editions: United States Africa América Latina Arabic Argentina Brazil Canada 中国 España France Deutschland India Italy 日本 México РОССИЯ United Kingdom •United States Top News Business Legal Deals Aerospace & Defense Finance Autos Markets Stocks Bonds Currencies Commodities Funds Earnings World U.S Special Reports Reuters Investigates Euro Zone Middle East China Japan Mexico Brazil Africa Russia India Politics Election 2016 Polling Explorer What Voters Want Supreme Court Technology Science Environment Top 100 Innovators 2015 Money Retirement Life Health Sports Arts Entertainment Oddly Enough Pictures Photographers The Wider Image Video Top News Most Popular Business Editor's Choice First Images World Technology Entertainment Oddly Enough Breakingviews Politics Investigates Dateline Asia Breaking NewsX Honduras detains five Syrians traveling on stolen Greek passports who were headed toward the United States: policeVIEW MORE Top News Wed Nov 18, 2015 | 12:28 PM EST Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring down Russian plane ‹ A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, No... Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany + A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background. Social Media A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue b... + A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows what it said were passports belonging to dead Russians ''obtained by the mujahideen''. Social Media A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows what it said were passports belonging to dead Russians ''obtained by the mujahideen''. Social... + A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany A military investigator from Russia stands near the debris of a Russian airliner at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt, No... Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany + A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background. Social Media A photo published in Islamic State magazine Dabiq shows a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue b... + › Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring...X By Ahmed Aboulenein and Lin Noueihed CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State's official magazine carried a photo on Wednesday of a Schweppes drink it said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people on board. The photo showed a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to be a detonator and switch on a blue background, three simple components that if genuine are likely to cause concern for airline safety officials worldwide. "The divided Crusaders of the East and West thought themselves safe in their jets as they cowardly bombarded the Muslims of the Caliphate," the English language Dabiq magazine said in reference to Russia and the West. "And so revenge was exacted upon those who felt safe in the cockpits." Western governments have said the plane was likely brought down by a bomb and Moscow confirmed on Tuesday it had reached the same conclusion, but the Egyptian government says it has still not found evidence of criminal action. Islamic State also published a photo of what it said were passports belonging to dead Russians "obtained by the mujahideen". It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the published photos. The group, which has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq, said it had exploited a loophole at Sharm al-Sheikh airport, where the plane originated, in order to smuggle a bomb on board. The airport is widely used by budget and charter airlines to fly tourists to the nearby resorts on the Sinai coast. Islamic State said it had initially planned to bring down a plane belonging to a country participating in the U.S.-led coalition bombing it in Syria and Iraq, but it changed course after Moscow started its own air strikes campaign in Syria. "A bomb was smuggled onto the airplane, leading to the deaths of 219 Russians and five other crusaders only a month after Russia’s thoughtless decision," it said. ADVERTISEMENT Egypt's interior minister told a news conference in Sharm al-Sheikh on Tuesday that there was "no information" about security lapses at the airport. Islamic State's Egyptian branch, Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attack the day it happened but Egyptian officials were quick to dismiss talk of a bomb as premature. NO SAFETY IN MUSLIM LANDS Egypt is battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai, a strategic peninsula bordering Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal. But Islamic State said the airline attack was primarily planned as a response to Russian and Western air strikes. "This was to show the Russians and whoever allies with them that they will have no safety in the lands and airspace of the Muslims," the group wrote. "That their daily killing of dozens in (Syria) through their air strikes will only bring them calamities." Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launched air strikes against opposition groups in Syria including Islamic State, on Sept. 30. Since the attacks on Paris, both Russia and France have stepped up the tempo of air strikes. The downed aircraft, an Airbus A321 operated by Metrojet, had been carrying Russian holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort to St Petersburg when it broke up over Sinai. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to hunt down those responsible for blowing up the plane and offered a $50 million reward for information leading to those responsible. "We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them," Putin said of the plane bombers at a somber Kremlin meeting. Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia's FSB security service, said traces of foreign-made explosive had been found on fragments of the downed plane and on passengers' personal belongings. He said the bomb probably contained around 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of TNT. Egypt has not officially given a reason as to why the plane was brought down, calling on all sides to await the official results of an investigation carried out by an Egyptian-led team. The government said it would "take into consideration" Russia's findings but that it was yet to find any evidence of criminal action bringing down the plane. (Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Luke Baker and Gareth Jones) Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring...X Next In Top News Photo No 'religious test' in House bill pausing Syrian refugees: Ryan Trending Stories 1 Islamic State says 'Schweppes bomb' used to bring down Russian plane 2 At least two die in police raid on group planning new Paris attack 3 Turkey fans boo minute's silence for Paris victims 4 U.S. files criminal charges against sellers of Jack3d, other supplements 5 Two Air France flights from U.S. diverted by bomb threats RECOMMENDED STORIES SPONSORED CONTENT Follow Us On Twitter Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On LinkedIn Follow Us On Google+ Follow Us Via RSS Subscribe to Newsletters | Download our Apps Feedback | Advertise with Us | Site Index | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Ad Choices News and Media Division of Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests. NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here. © 2015 Reuters All Rights Reserved ===================================================================== Essential News from The Associated Press AAA Nov. 7, 2015 9:33 PM ET Noise in last second of Russian plane's cockpit recording By MARAM MAZEN and NOUR YOUSSEF, Associated Press THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES AIM Share Ayman el-Muqadem, the head of the investigation team on a Russian plane crash last week in Egypt's Sinai, takes a seat before speaking at a press conference at the Aviation Ministry in the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. El-Muqadem said a noise was heard in the last second of the cockpit voice recording from the plane that took off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Shiekh, killing all 224 people onboard. He said an analysis of the noise was underway to identify its nature. (AP Photo/Mohammed El Raai) 1 of 5 More News Video Sharm el-Sheikh airport officials reveal porous security Nov. 7, 2015 6:40 PM ET Metrojet crash cause still unclear but could benefit Putin Nov. 7, 2015 12:01 PM ET The Latest: Egypt probes ground crew for crashed Metrojet Nov. 7, 2015 7:59 AM ET The Latest: US adds air security 'enhancements' after crash Nov. 6, 2015 1:35 PM ET Russia to suspend flights to Egypt pending improved security Nov. 6, 2015 10:40 AM ET Buy AP Photo Reprints CAIRO (AP) — A noise was heard in the last second of the cockpit voice recording from the Russian plane that crashed last week in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the head of the joint investigation team said Saturday. The statement bolstered U.S. and British suspicions that the plane was brought down by a bomb. However, Ayman el-Muqadem warned it was too early to say what caused the plane to apparently break up in mid-flight. Analysis of the noise was underway. "All scenarios are being considered ... it could be lithium batteries in the luggage of one of the passengers, it could be an explosion in the fuel tank, it could be fatigue in the body of the aircraft, it could be the explosion of something," said El-Muqadem, who is Egyptian and leading the investigation committee that includes experts from Russia, France, Germany and Ireland, where the plane was registered. El-Muqadem appeared alone at the news conference in Cairo. U.S. and British officials have cited intelligence reports as indicating that the Oct. 31 flight from the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg was brought down by a bomb on board. All 224 people onboard, most of them Russian tourists, were killed. Islamic State extremists claimed they brought down the Metrojet flight, without offering proof, saying it was in retaliation for Moscow's airstrikes that began a month earlier against fighters in Syria. El-Muqadem said debris was found scattered across a 13-kilometer (8-mile) stretch of desert, indicating the Airbus A321-200 broke up mid-air, but initial observations don't shed light on what caused it. Some pieces of wreckage were still missing, while the recovered pieces will be taken to Cairo for analysis, he said. Egyptian airport and security officials told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities were questioning airport staff and ground crew who worked on the plane and had placed some employees under surveillance. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Also Saturday, Egypt's foreign minister complained that Western governments had not sufficiently helped Egypt in its war on terrorism. Egypt's past calls for assistance and coordination on terrorism issues from "the countries that are now facing the danger" had not been dealt with seriously, Sameh Shoukry told a news conference. "European countries did not give us the cooperation we are hoping for," he said. Egyptian authorities have been trying to whip up support for a war on terror after the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. A crackdown on Islamists and a series of militant attacks on security buildings and checkpoints, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula, have followed Morsi's ouster — with a Sinai-based affiliate of the Islamic State group claiming responsibility for some of the most devastating attacks. Shoukry also said countries that have suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh — which include the U.K. and Russia, though the foreign minister did not specifically name them — did not share the intelligence that drove their decisions with Cairo. Egypt "expected that the information available would be communicated to us instead of being broadcast" in the media, he said. Russia announced Friday it was suspending flights to all of Egypt, joining the UK and Ireland, which had stopped flights to Sharm el-Sheikh. At least a half-dozen Western European governments told their citizens not to travel there. Empty charter planes have been flying to Sharm el-Sheikh to bring home stranded Russian and British tourists. Passengers were banned from checking in luggage — reflecting an apparent concern about security and luggage-screening procedures at the airport. The crash one week ago dealt a huge blow to Egypt's battered tourism sector, which is yet to fully recover from years of political turmoil. Russians comprise nearly a third of all tourists who visited Egypt in the past year. There are currently 80,000 Russians in Egypt — 79,000 of them in the resort areas of Hurgada and Sharm el-Sheikh, Russian tourism chief Oleg Safonov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies. Maya Lomidze, acting director of the Russian Association of Tour Operators, said authorities were sending 93 empty planes to Egypt on Saturday and Sunday to bring tourists home. The Russian Emergencies Ministry also said it would send planes to transport the checked baggage of Russian tourists who were forced to leave their suitcases behind. Thousands of tourists waited in slow-moving security lines at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport on Saturday as they tried to board charter flights home. Many complained about a lack of information from travel agents and airlines, but seemed to accept tight security measures. Designer Georgy Kononov and his family hoped to catch a flight to Moscow after a seven-hour delay. He said he agreed with Russia's decision to suspend flights to Egypt. "When we're talking about the safety and security of people, it's more important than the business," he said, though he added that there should have been better planning for such a complicated situation. Meanwhile, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that investigators had determined that a missile that came within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a plane carrying British tourists to Sharm el-Sheikh on Aug. 23 was "probably a flare." The Thomson jet was carrying 189 passengers. Tui Group, which owns Thomson, said an investigation by Britain's Department for Transport had concluded that the incident was not a "targeted attack" and likely connected to routine Egyptian military exercises in the area at the time. Thomson said there was "no cause for concern" for further flights. The spokesman for Egypt's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zeid, tweeted Saturday that the incident involved a "ground-to-ground fire exercise" at an Egyptian military base a few kilometers from the Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The spokesman said airliners had previously been informed of the military exercise and that the Egyptian and British governments were "fully aware that plane was in no danger." ___ Associated Press writer Merrit Kennedy in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Sylvia Hui in London and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Ayman el-Muqadem is the head of the joint investigation team, not the Egyptian investigation team. Mon Nov 2, 2015 | 3:12 AM EST First bodies delivered to Russia after Egypt plane crash Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkov... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkov... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + A Russian emergency ministry cargo plane carrying the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, lands at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool A Russian emergency ministry cargo plane carrying the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, lands at P... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + Russian emergency ministry officers carry stretchers as they prepare to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool Russian emergency ministry officers carry stretchers as they prepare to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peni... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkov... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg, Russia November 2, 2015. REUTERS/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool Russian emergency ministry officers wait to unload the bodies of victims of a Russian airliner, which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, at Pulkov... Reuters/Dmitry Lovetsky/Pool + By Pyotr Kovalyov ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - The first bodies from a plane crash in Egypt in which all 224 passengers, most of them Russians, died over the weekend arrived in St Petersburg early on Monday morning aboard a Russian government plane. The crashed Airbus A321 plane, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia, was carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday morning. Russian officials have said the plane likely broke up in mid-air but have stressed that it is too early to draw conclusions from this. President Vladimir Putin declared Sunday a national day of mourning. Russian news agencies reported that a first Il-76 Emergency Situations Ministry plane flew into St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport a little before 6 a.m. local time, carrying 144 bodies. The ministry said the next plane carrying bodies would leave Cairo on Monday evening for St Petersburg. On arrival, the first bodies were loaded onto stretchers and carried into a large white lorry waiting on the runway at Pulkovo Airport. Click here to invest in South Australian Residential Commercial, Rural Properties, Schools & Businesses. A Reuters photographer then saw the white lorry leaving the airport, escorted by police cars. It was heading for a St Petersburg morgue, where the bodies were to be identified. The identification process was meant to start around 11 a.m. local time. At Pulkovo Airport on Sunday, grieving Russians piled flowers high in memory of their dead compatriots. Mourners in Moscow arranged candles to spell out 7K-9268, the number of the flight that crashed. Russia and other former Soviet republics have poor air safety records, notably on domestic flights. Some accidents have been blamed on the use of aging aircraft, but industry experts point to other problems, such as poor crew training and lax government controls. St Petersburg authorities have decided that official mourning events will last until Tuesday in Russia's second city. (Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Christian Lowe) ========================================= Flight 7K9268: What we do and don’t know about Russia’s deadliest-ever air crash Published time: 1 Nov, 2015 23:28 Get short URL Debris of the A321 Russian airliner lie on the ground a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, on November 1, 2015. © Khaled Desouki Debris of the A321 Russian airliner lie on the ground a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, on November 1, 2015. © Khaled Desouki / AFP As experts prepare to analyze the flight recorders, the number of theories speculating about the demise of the Russian plane crash that killed 224 people on Saturday is proliferating by the hour. RT separates the facts from the conjecture. LIVE UPDATES: Russian passenger jet crash over Sinai: Aftermath, reactions What was the sequence of events leading up to the tragedy? The Airbus A321-200 took off from the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh at 5:51am local time (3:51 UTC), in the direction of St.Petersburg. Some 22 minutes later, air control, according to local officials, lost contact with the jet, which by then had climbed to 9,450 meters (31,000 feet ). Flight tracking websites then reported a rapid, almost vertical, descent. The manufacturer Airbus says the plane hit the ground about three minutes later, killing every single person on-board. There was no distress call. How did the plane crash? The head of Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia, Aleksandr Neradko, has said that “all signs testify to the fact that the destruction of the structure of the airplane took place in the air and at a great altitude.” The principal evidence is that the remains of the plane and the bodies have been scattered over an area measuring about 8 km by 4 km. An Egyptian military source told the media that the plane cracked open into two main segments, one of which collided with a rock on impact. Why did it crash? This is the big question, as of now. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)-affiliated militants, based in Sinai, stole a march on officials, when they claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane. Russian authorities – backed up by Egyptian officials – have dismissed the boasts as being out of hand, saying the terrorists in the region do not possess the specialized equipment necessary to shoot down a large passenger jet flying at cruising height. Nonetheless, several major carriers have diverted their planes from the route, at least for the time being. This does not necessarily rule out an act of terror “Early reports said that the aircraft split into two and that suggests a catastrophic failure, not a mechanical failure, but that suggests perhaps an explosion on board,” posited Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute, an aviation think tank. “It's much more likely to have been a bomb on board rather than a missile fired from the ground.” Could a problem with the plane or its crew have caused the disaster? Some contradictions here. Siberian operator Kogalymavia, also known as Metrojet, has said that a technical malfunction, even one as serious as an engine fire, could not have led to such a rapid disintegration, and Egyptian authorities say the aircraft passed the pre-flight check without incidents. READ MORE: 10-month girl becomes grieving symbol of Russia tragedy The Airbus itself was 18 years old – not a particularly grand age by aircraft standards – and had been leased from Aercap, the world’s biggest plane leasing company. It had only suffered one minor incident in 2001. Nonetheless, the wife of one of the co-pilots, told Russian state television that her husband Sergey Trukhachev complained that “the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired." The crew itself was very experienced, with pilot Valeriy Nemtsov clocking up over 12,000 hours of flight time prior to the accident. Metrojet have been told to temporarily ground their planes, while Russian authorities have begun a safety audit of the small company, which is operating five other jets. When will there be more clarity? The flight recorders have now been taken to Cairo, with Egyptian officials set to lead the investigation, with the aid of Russian specialists. A team of outside experts has been dispatched by Airbus from France, and two more US investigators will join the analysis, as the engines for the jet were manufactured there. Fragments of the plane will also have to be gathered, meaning that definitive analysis of the causes of the crash are likely to be named after weeks, if not months. ================================= Sat Oct 31, 2015 | 3:12 PM EDT Russian airliner with 224 aboard crashes in Egypt's Sinai, all killed 9:36 AM EDT | 01:29 Relatives at St. Petersburg airport react to news of crashed airliner Russian airliner with 224 aboard crashes in Egypt'...X By Yusri Mohammed and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan ISMAILIA, Egypt/CAIRO (Reuters) - A Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard. A militant group affiliated to Islamic State in Egypt, Sinai Province, said in a statement it had brought down the plane "in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land", but Russia's Transport Minister told Interfax news agency the claim "can't be considered accurate". The Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was flying from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg in Russia when it went down in central Sinai soon after daybreak, the aviation ministry said. "I now see a tragic scene," an Egyptian security officer at the site told Reuters by telephone. "A lot of dead on the ground and many who died whilst strapped to their seats. "The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rockface. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside," the officer, who requested anonymity, said. Both black boxes of the plane had been found, Mohamed Hossam Kemal, the civil aviation minister, told a news conference. Kemal said communications between the plane and air traffic control before the crash had been normal and that nothing irregular had occurred before the accident. "The plane did not request a change of route," he said. Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also told the news conference that there did not appear to be any unusual activity behind the crash but the facts would not be clear until further investigations had been carried out. Ismail said 129 bodies had so far been removed and the chances of finding survivors were now near-impossible. Bodies were being transported to various hospitals with 34 arriving in the Zeinhom morgue in Cairo early in the evening. Islamic State, in a statement on Twitter, said it had brought down the aircraft. Sinai is the scene of an insurgency by militants close to Islamic State, who have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months. Much of the Sinai is a restricted military zone. Militants in the area are not believed to have missiles capable of hitting a plane at 30,000 feet. Islamic State websites have in the past claimed responsibility for actions that have not been conclusively attributed to them. Egypt says finds both black boxes from crashed Russian plane Egyptian PM says no 'irregular' activities believed behind crash Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launched air raids against opposition groups in Syria including Islamic State on Sept. 30. Two of Europe's largest airlines, Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA), said they would avoid flying over the Sinai peninsula while awaiting an explanation on the cause of the crash. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised Russia's President Vladimir Putin he would allow Russian experts to join the investigation. The prime minister said a Russian team would arrive in Egypt later on Saturday night. The country is also preparing to receive the families of the victims. TELEPHONES RINGING Putin declared a day of national mourning for Sunday. The passengers included 214 Russians and three Ukrainians. A middle-aged man in a gray overcoat, who gave his first name as Nayeel, wept as he spoke to reporters as he came out of a hotel near St Petersburg's Pulkovo airport, where a special reception center has been set up for families of the victims. RELATED VIDEO Video 00:46 Russian airliner crashes in Egypt He said that his wife had been on the plane. "At six am she sent me a text message saying: I’m boarding. God be with me.’ And that was it,” he said. The man said the rest of the family had already returned from a holiday in Egypt, but his wife had opted to stay on, which is why she was on the Saturday morning flight. The A321 is a medium-haul jet in service since 1994, with over 1,100 in operation worldwide and a good safety record. It is a highly automated aircraft relying on computers to help pilots stay within safe flying limits. Airbus said the A321 was built in 1997 and had been operated by Metrojet since 2012. It had flown 56,000 hours in nearly 21,000 flights and was powered by engines from International Aero Engines consortium, which includes United Technologies (UTX.N) unit Pratt & Whitney and Germany's MTU Aero Engines (MTXGn.DE). Emergency services and aviation specialists searched the wreckage for any clues to the crash. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area. "We are hearing a lot of telephones ringing, most likely belonging to the victims, and security forces are collecting them and putting them into a bag," the security officer at the scene said. Russia's Investigative Committee said it was checking fuel samples from the aircraft's last refueling stop, in the southern Russian city of Samara, according to RIA news agency. Searches were being carried out at Moscow's Domodedovo airport where the airline that operated the plane is based. Related Coverage Islamic State claims responsibility for Russian plane crash in Egypt Lufthansa, Air France avoid flying over Sinai after crash Kogalymavia was founded in 1993, and was earlier called Kolavia. Its fleet consists of two A320s and seven A321s. Russia and other former Soviet republics have relatively poor safety records, notably on domestic flights. Some Russian air crashes have been blamed on the use of aging aircraft, but industry experts point to other problems, including poor crew training, crumbling airports, lax government controls and neglect of safety in the pursuit of profits. The aircraft took off at 5:51 a.m. Cairo time (10:51 p.m. EDT) and disappeared from radar screens 23 minutes later, Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. It was at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 meters) when it vanished from radar screens. Accidents at cruising altitude are one of the rarest categories of accidents but also among the most deadly, accounting for 13 percent of fatal incidents since 2005, according to Boeing. Investigators would be looking into, among other things, the weather at the time, the pilots' experience, maintenance records, signs of a stall and any evidence of an explosion. Experts consistently warn air accidents are usually caused by a cocktail of factors, both human and technical. According to FlightRadar24, an authoritative Sweden-based flight tracking service, the aircraft was descending rapidly at about 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) per minute when the signal was lost to air traffic control. France's civil aviation safety agency (BEA) said it would send a team to Egypt on Nov. 1 to join investigators from Germany and Russia. The United States Secretary of State John Kerry offered U.S. assistance, if needed, a spokesman said. (Additional reporting by Ehab Farouk, Ahmed Aboulenein, Lin Noueihed and Abdelnasser Aboul Elfadl in Cairo, Jason Bush and Christian Lowe in Moscow, Tim Hepher in Paris; Writing by Michael Georgy and Lin Noueihed; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Raissa Kasolowsky)

No comments: