‘External Impact’: Investigation Into Russian Plane Crash Just Got More Mysterious

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Senior officials with the Russian company that owns the plane that crashed in Egypt over the weekend say the only thing that could have caused it was an “external impact.”

Speaking to reporters Monday morning, Aleksandr Smirnov, the deputy director of aviation at Metrojet, said the airline company has ruled out any other cause for the deaths of the 224 people onboard, The New York Times reports.

“We absolutely exclude the technical failure of the plane, and we absolutely exclude pilot error or a human factor,” Smirnov said.

Kogalymavia Flight 9268 shattered into pieces before crashing into the ground Saturday on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Smirnov did not give specifics about what caused the crash, only saying that an “external impact” may have been at fault. Metrojet will launch an investigation into the crash to determine the exact cause.

While Smirnov ruled out pilot error and mechanical failure, Reuters reports that the black box on board the plane shows that the plane was not struck by an outside force.

The unnamed source within the committee analyzing the flight recordings also told Reuters a preliminary examination of the recordings doesn’t show a distress call coming from the pilot.

According to the airline, both of the plane’s engines were inspected Oct. 26 in Moscow, and while the plane had a previous issue with its tail, the problem was fully repaired and didn’t cause the crash.

Members of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the crash in the immediate aftermath, though experts have said the terrorist group is bluffing.

Mokhtar Awad, an analyst with the Center for American Progress told the Guardian a local ISIS affiliate, Wilayat Sinai, may have hastily claimed responsibility for the crash without providing any evidence to back it up.

“For instance it claimed that the recent prison raid by Kurdish and US special forces were a total failure, when in fact video evidence surfaced showed them freeing the hostages,” he said. “So this may be an instance of the rooster taking credit for the dawn.”

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