INDEPENDENT MEDIA | Tracking Kogalymavia Flight 9268 Crash
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INDEPENDENT MEDIA | Tracking Kogalymavia Flight 9268 Crash

By Various Open Sources

Kolavia/Metrojet A321 EI-ETJ Flight 7K9268 left Sharm El Sheik airport at 06:51 for Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg, Russia with 217 passengers, including 17 children, and seven crew members on board. All those aboard were Russians, according to the Russian embassy. The aircraft failed to make contact with Cyprus Air Traffic Control 23 minutes later. Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency confirmed the flight disappeared from radar. Initially, the head of Egypt's civil aviation accident body, Ayman al-Muqaddam, said: "The...Russian airline had told us that the Russian plane we lost contact with is safe and that it has contacted Turkish air traffic control and is passing through Turkish skies now." Flightradar24 also posted on Twitter: "It's NOT confirmed that this flight has crashed. It descended 5000 feet before Flightradar24 coverage was lost."

Kogalymavia Flight 9268

The Airbus A321 was owned and leased from Dublin-based AerCap and was 18 years old at the time of the incident. The aircraft was initially purchased by Vietnam Airlines but, never taken up, it was delivered to Lebanon's Middle East Airlines in May 1997. It was transferred to Kolavia in March 2012 and then to Metrojet in May. The aircaft was powered by two IAE V2533 engines and configured to carry 220 passengers in an economy configuration.

Image Attribute: Wikimedia Commons [Link]

The captain of the flight reportedly told Air Traffic Control regarding a technical fault and had requested a route change, although there was no indication whether a change had occurred or not. The Egyptian Civilian Aviation Ministry issued a statement that indicated the fight was at an altitude of 31,000 feet when it disappeared from radar screens after a reported "steep descent" up to 5,000 feet. It had disappeared in a mountainous area in central Sinai with poor weather conditions making it difficult for rescue crews to get to the scene.

Youtube Video Grab: Kogalymavia Kolavia Flight 7K9268 Crash Flight Tracking 
Oct 31, 2015, and FlightRadar24

An unnamed security source said that any survivors and the bodies of those who died would be flown to Cairo. The descent of 5,000 feet occurred in one minute shortly before it disappeared. Reuters quoted an unnamed security officer as saying that the aircraft has been completely destroyed and most passengers were likely to have died. Flightradar24 shows the aircraft climbing to 33,500 feet before suddenly descending to 28,375 feet approximately 50 kilometres north east of Nekhel on the Sinai Peninsula, after which its position was no longer tracked. Unnamed Egyptian authorities indicated that the first parts of the wreckage had been located. Fifty ambulances were sent to the crash site. Unnamed Egyptian officials reported that the plane "split in two" and most bodies were found strapped to their seats. However, they reported that voices of trapped passengers could be heard in a section of the crashed plane.

Eurocontrol's Air Flow Traffic Management (CFMU) issued a note to all operators along the route shortly after the aircraft's disappearance that due to technical problems all flights would be tactically re-routed, although the notice was redacted shortly thereafter.

It has become clear that someone has targeted the MetroJet Flight 7K9268 that was destroyed in Egypt yesterday leaving all 217 passengers and 7 crew aboard dead. This statement can be made at this early stage in the investigation because it has become clear that the jet downed in Egypt has split into at least two pieces and there is really no way that the flight breaking up in the air is consistent with an accident.

Mechanical failure will cause the plane to be unable to fly, it will not cause the distribution of the wreckage over a large area as we are seeing in Sinai. Once it is accepted that this was not an accident but an intended attack, then the obvious motive becomes clear. Either someone is upset over the month-long Russian operation in Syria and they are expressing their displeasure, or someone is trying to frame someone for that.

It is quite unlikely that any ground anti-aircraft system was responsible for the destruction of Metrojet 7K9268, the height of the jet and the topography of the Sinai would make it seemingly impossible to hide a system of the required size in that area. The prime methods would be appear to be either a remote hijacking, a bomb or an attack from a jet. At this early stage the remote hijacking seems to be a non-starter as it fails to explain the mid-air destruction of the fuselage. The most likely explanation seems to be either a bomb on board, an air-to-air attack or something exotic.

Ayman al-Muqaddam, who was appointed to investigate the cause of the crash, said that the pilot had made contact with the civil aviation authorities and asked to land at the nearest airport. He suggested the plane may have been attempting an emergency landing at Al-Arish’s airport in north Sinai. It crashed 35 kilometres south of the coastal city. Though the Sinai insurgency has been ongoing for a number of years, there were no reports the plane had been shot down, according to Egyptian security sources

A security source has told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that the black box of the Russian plane has been found. He added that from the primary examination of the wreckage and tail of the plane, there are no indications that the plane suffered a terrorist operation and at this stage the crash is thought to be caused by a technical error. "There are no survivors among its passengers," the source told DPA.

French air accident investigators are also traveling to Egypt to join the investigation into the crash. France's BEA accident investigation agency is involved because the Airbus A321 jet was designed in France. A BEA official said the team, including two BEA investigators and six technical advisers from Airbus, was arriving Sunday. The BEA said the team would be joined by two investigators from its German counterpart BFU, because the plane was manufactured in Germany, and four investigators from its Russian counterpart MAK, because the plane was operated by a Russian company.
As the recovery of the victims began, Egyptian search and rescue team had only found 163 bodies with the remaining remains missing. As the search area widen to 5.8 miles, Egyptian authorities found a body of a child around 8 km from the wreckage, indicating that the plane broke up in mid-flight. Russian official, Viktor Sorochenko, told media and confirmed that the plane did break up in mid-flight. An unnamed aviation security specialists said Sharm el-Sheikh has measures as tight as most airports, but did not discount the possibility of a bomb. A slew of unverified reports from Egypt have left the picture confused, but according to one official quoted by Reuters, the tail section appeared to have separated from the main body of the plane and was burning, which could indicate an explosion.