On Saturday, a Russian passenger plane carrying 224 people crashed in the Sinai Peninsula while traveling from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to St. Petersburg. Most of the 217 passengers were Russian nationals, and everyone on board, including the seven crew members, died in the crash. Authorities have recovered the cockpit voice recorders and data from the Airbus A321, but they don't know what exactly caused the tragedy. While the investigation is ongoing, there are a few theories on why the Russian plane crashed. With hundreds of casualties, the public is demanding answers.
Russian air transport chief Alexander Neradko said Sunday that flight KGL-9268 "broke down in midair at high altitude." The reasons for the jetliner's breakdown, however, are still unknown. Some people believe ISIS' claim that the terrorist organization caused the crash, while others believe it was the result of human error. But whatever may have led to the tragic crash, some major airlines are playing it safe after Saturday's disaster: European airlines Lufthansa and Air France won't fly over the Sinai Peninsula until there are more answers about what happened. Here are some of the still unconfirmed theories about the Russian plane crash that are being discussed.
1. ISIS Militants Caused The Crash
A Twitter account allegedly supporting the Islamic State terrorist group tweeted Saturday that ISIS "fighters" downed the plane in response to recent Russian airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. However, ISIS didn't offer any details about how its militants allegedly caused the crash. And it wouldn't be the first time ISIS has tried to claim responsibility for an international tragedy.
There's also the fact that officials from both Egypt and Russia are skeptical that ISIS caused the crash. On Saturday, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov denounced the claim, as did a spokesperson for Egypt's army. Officials have noted at the high altitude the plane was traveling at, it would have been difficult for ISIS to use surface-to-air missiles to down the plane. ISIS' skeptics believe the terrorist group is trying to capitalize on the crash's international headlines by claiming they were behind it.
2. Human Error Could Be To Blame
According to AFP, there's a theory the pilot, Valery Nemov, had asked to change the plane's course, so some people are considering human error as an option. A member of Egypt's Aviation Incidents Committee claimed that the pilot wanted to reroute the plane for an emergency landing due to technical issues. Nemov had more than 12,000 hours of flight experience.
However, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Hossam Kamal el Din has denied reports that the pilot was having radio trouble prior to the crash. The Kogalymavia airline has also stated that there are "no grounds" to blame human error for the plane crash.
3. Technological Failure Resulted In The Plane's Breakdown
According to Egyptian officials, the plane was flying at an altitude of roughly 31,000 feet before it broke down. That means human or technological error was a more likely cause than an act of missile-based terrorism. Natalya Trukhacheva, the wife of co-pilot, Sergei Trukachev, told Russia's NTV that Trukachev had complained about the plane's technical condition before it took off.
If the claims that Nemov or Trukachev made a call about "technical difficulties" with the plane are proven true, it could help explain why the jetliner broke down.
Still, Aviation Minister Kamal stated that the plane did not send a distress call, so there are many unanswered questions about the crash. Whatever the reason for the crash, authorities should be able to find the answers soon. Along with the fact that the flight data has been recovered, Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an investigation into the crash. Putin also declared Nov. 1 a Russian national day of mourning for those lost.