Investigators probing the mid-air breakup and crash of the Metrojet airplane en route from Sharm-el-Sheikh resort in Egypt to Saint Petersburg have not yet released an official version of what caused Saturday’s plane crash, which killed all 224 people onboard. However, both Russian and Egyptian authorities have dismissed claims that the terrorist ISIS shot down the aircraft.
A debris from a Russian airliner is seen at its crash site at the Hassana area in Arish city, north Egypt. Source:Reuters
As an international commission begins to decipher contents of the recovered “black boxes” of the crashed Russian civilian plane, experts are looking at various versions of what caused this disaster.
Version 1: Terrorist attack
The daily Kommersant’s source from among the specialists who are working at the site of the Metrojet Airbus crash said that the sudden decompression and destruction of the aircraft could be due to an explosion in the baggage compartment.
A bomb explosion on board could not destroy the plane by itself, they believe, but the resultant sharp drop in pressure could lead to an explosive decompression.
Russian and Egyptian experts are making comparisons with the crash of a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988. In that case, a terrorist planted a plastic explosive device in a radio cassette player and placed it in a suitcase.
Version 2: Crack
The decompression and breakup of the fuselage could have been caused by a fatigue crack. Fifteen years ago, this plane had an incident at the airport in Cairo; while landing, the pilot tried to straighten out the flight path of the aircraft and sharply raised the nose of the plane, causing its tail to hit the runway.
It is possible that the damage was not completely repaired, and the crack went unnoticed by maintenance crews.
Such damage can lead to the destruction of the airliner decades later, Oleg Smirnov, president of the Partner of Civil Aviation Air Transport Infrastructure Development Fund, told the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets.
It is known that the Kogalymavia airline bought the plane after the incident.
Version 3: Faulty engine
Another possible reason for an explosive decompression may be a faulty engine. If a turbine was destroyed, its torn-off blades could penetrate the wing and fuselage.
According to experts, the blades of the turbine “fly out with great speed and, moving in the same plane, cut the liner’s wing and fuselage like an angle grinder disc,” Kommersant reports.
It remains to be seen what exactly happened to the aircraft, causing it to crash.
In the meanwhile, grieving relatives of the dead passengers, most of whom were from Saint Petersburg, are being helped to cope with the tragedy.