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Russia’s Flight 9268: No theories ruled out, Peskov says
November 2, 2015, 8:59 pm

The debris was spread over a 9-kilometer stretch of land [Xinhua]

The debris was spread over a 9-kilometer stretch of land [Xinhua]

The first 196 bodies of passengers pulled from the wreckage of Metrojet flight 9268 which crashed in Sinai, Egypt arrived in St. Petersburg late Monday as theories of the cause spread on social media.

Egyptian media, quoting unnamed investigators working with a Russian forensic team examining the retrieved black box flight recorders, said that the Airbus 321 jet pilot did not make a distress call requesting an emergency landing – as some social media accounts have alleged.

The Egyptians also disputed a Metrojet official’s claim that the plane had been hit by an external force.

Russian officials said that the airliner had likely broken up in mid-air before falling to the ground.

Earlier, Egyptian authorities said that the plane had disappeared off radar at 31,000 feet 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh airport flying north toward St. Petersburg.

Egyptian TV aired footage on Monday showing that the debris remains of the plane had fallen over a 9-km stretch of land. The plane had been entirely destroyed.

The discrepancy in Egyptian official accounts and the statements made by Metrojet chief Alexander Smirnov during his press conference on Monday have helped fuel a number of online conspiracies.

Egypt on Saturday said that its initial assessment was that a technical error had caused the crash.

Smirnov told the media that his team ruled out technical or human error. He added that the jet had passed all safety tests before embarking to Egypt and that the crew had all passed medical examinations.

A group associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) said it had downed the airliner in revenge for Moscow’s aerial bombardment campaign against Islamist forces in Syria.

Moscow immediately ruled an ISIL missile strike as a possibility and various military experts said that ISIL could not have the weaponry to shoot down an aircraft flying at 31,000 feet.

Some theories on social media speculated that a bomb had been aboard the doomed plane, but as yet there has been no proof to back that claim.

Russian Presidential Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has urged the media stop speculating until the investigation is complete, but he did say that Moscow has not yet ruled out any possibility.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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