A Russian aircraft crashed over the Egyptian region of Sinai on Saturday. The Russian A321 plane was carrying 214 Russian passengers, three Ukrainian passengers, and seven crew members. All 224 people on board were sadly pronounced dead, and at least 163 bodies have been found among the plane's wreckage. Though the incident is still under investigation, experts are already shedding some light on what exactly happened as the passenger jet was traveling from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to St. Petersburg. Why did the Russian plane crash?
Russian Interstate Aviation Committee Executive Director Viktor Sorochenko has surmised that it was some sort of separation of the plane's body that occurred in the air that ultimately brought the jet down, though experts are continuing to gather information. Sorochenko said in a press conference:
It is too early to draw conclusions. Disintegration of the fuselage took place in the air, and the fragments are scattered around a large area [about 20 square kilometers].
Though ISIS has claimed credit for the crash, their involvement appears highly unlikely given the current information presented. The claim has nonetheless spooked fellow airlines, including Air France, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Lufthansa, all of whom are refusing to fly through the Sinai peninsula until the investigation concludes. Communication between the aircraft, operated by Russian airline company Metrojet, (formerly known as Kogalymavia) was relatively normal for the first 23 minutes of the flight until air traffic control lost contact with the plane.
The plane was nearing cruising altitude before it disappeared at around 31,000 feet. It was around that time that the aircraft began a dramatic descent, falling at a rate of around 6,000 feet a minute, according to FlightRadar24. Russian officials have checked fuel quality of the A321, which passed all needed requirements. Likewise, crew members appeared to have no issues as well and were medically cleared to fly. As a precautionary measure, the Russian government has requested that Metrojet ground similar aircraft as the investigation continues.