The Russian plane that crashed Saturday in the Sinai with 224 people on board was “dislocated” high altitude before touching the ground, Russian officials said the airline.
“The break occurred in the air and the fragments are scattered over a large area of about 20 square kilometers,” said Viktor Sorotchenko in Cairo, Director of Intergovernmental Aviation Committee of (MAK), quoted by Russian news agencies , saying it was “too early to talk about any conclusions.”
The MAK is responsible for conducting investigations after the air disaster in Russia. In this capacity, Mr. Sorotchenko involved in the investigation of the crash of flight 9268 in Egypt alongside Metrojet including French BEA investigators and the German BFU, representing the manufacturer Airbus, and Egyptian.
“All indications we have are evidence that the disruption of the structure of the aircraft took place in the air, at high altitude,” confirmed shortly after, from Egypt, the director of the Russian agency airline Rosaviatsia, Alexander Neradko, on Russian television.
He added that the debris were spread on an area forming an ellipse eight kilometers long and four kilometers wide.
The hypothesis of a flight disruption was already considered the most plausible by the experts, given the dispersal of debris.
The Egyptian authorities announced Saturday it had found debris and body in a circle extending over 8 km radius, which, according to experts, indicated a priori that the Airbus A321-200 of the Russian company had not touched Metrojet the ground in one piece, but had dislocated or had exploded in flight.
The radius was extended Sunday at 15 km, said a military officer involved in the research.
Update on outstanding issues with experts
Question: The images of the crash site they accredit one of the possible causes?
Answer: “In view of these photos, the hypothesis of an attack and the accident remain open. We can not conclude, “said Jean-Paul Troadec, former director of the BEA (Bureau of Investigations and Analysis for Safety of Civil Aviation). “It is the examination of the debris, supplemented by that of the flight recorders, which will quickly establish which of the hypotheses is the most plausible of the attack or accident.” The Egyptian government announced on Saturday that the black boxes had been found.
Q: What is the examination of the debris should determine?
A: “You have to let investigators examine the wreckage at the site. If there is bombing, it may be inferred from the dispersion of the wreck, but also, and above all debris: if traces of explosives, and if the carcass of the aircraft was opened, it can demonstrate the existence of a bomb, “Mr. Troadec. “This is an assumption among many, but one can not rule out a technical problem.”
Q: Can the airline be stitched to the ground?
A: “Apparently the plane has not fallen to the ground by biting. There are no small pieces, this suggests that it has not fallen dive, “according to Troadec. The Egyptian authorities Sunday extended the circle radius searches, initially 8 km, 15 km, which supports the theory of a dislocation or explosion in flight. Sunday afternoon, the head of Russian aviation experts said that a “dislocation (had) held in the air,” but said it was “too early to talk about any conclusions.”
Q: If the plane exploded in flight, what may have been the causes?
A: There may have occurred “technical breakdown: an engine explodes, a cargo loading problem … There are several scenarios where a big problem occurs in flight, and the aircraft disintegrated before reaching the ground, without it being an attack, “said aviation expert Robert Galan. However, few technical problems which may result in an explosion or dislocation. For Mr. Troadec, “an explosion in flight of the plane that is linked to an internal cause is still very unlikely.”
Q: If there is an attack, what are the possible scenarios, and that of a missile is it credible?
A: “The plane may have exploded in flight, or because of a suicide bomber or a bomb on board, is still a result of a missile strike,” says Galan. “If the aircraft was cruising at 9,000 meters, it is extremely unlikely that the Islamic State has had the means to shoot because you have very important means of radar identifying ways and capture, “he says. “As against it is possible, as they have means of attack at medium range, that the aircraft had technical problems, came down, and that after his descent, he was shot down by the EI. But it is a bit choppy, “Judge M. Galan.
Q: Should we give credence to the claim of the jihadist Islamic State Group (EI)?
A: Egyptian and Russian governments dispute the claim made by the Egyptian branch of the IU in retaliation, she says, the Russian bombing in Syria. The insurgents of the group calling itself the Sinai Province assured Saturday that “dropped” the Russian plane without specifying how. They are very active in the northern Sinai, their main stronghold, where they commit almost daily deadly attacks on the army and police. “The claim is credible because the branch of EI in Egypt has never lied about his actions, as does the group Islamic State, so is their credibility,” says terrorism expert Mathieu Guidère. “More Twitter account and other sites that claim was published have never published anything wrong. There is also the form, classic, sticking to regular releases of the organization “.
Sinai hot spot antidjihadiste struggle in Egypt
The Sinai desert, which occurred on Saturday the crash, is a vast peninsula east of Egypt become increasingly unstable due to the presence of jihadists who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (EI ) and hostile tribes in power.
A semi-desert border with Israel
Sinai is a semi-desert peninsula of about 60 000 km2 in eastern Egypt, caught between the Suez Canal to the west and Israel and the Gaza Strip to the east. Its coasts on the Red Sea beach resorts welcome, the most famous is Sharm el-Sheikh, in the extreme south, however far from the bastion of EI, North Sinai province.
A strategic geographical position
The peace agreement signed in 1979 between Israel and Egypt went with the withdrawal of the Egyptian army armored Peninsula. Israel’s presence on the border of Egypt and the question of Palestine was at the basis of the claims of jihadist groups active in the Peninsula.
Long abandoned by the authorities
Sinai Bedouins have fueled resentment against the Egyptian authorities whose presence materialized by police controls. Many Bedouin say they are treated as sub-citizens which the State grants few rights. Schools, roads, power cuts are the complaints that come up most often in the mouths of people.
According to several experts, this abandonment and resentment it has caused among the Bedouins would be one of the bases of the establishment of jihadist groups in the peninsula, the nebulous Al Qaeda in the late 2000s and then the Islamic state group (EI) recently.
Bastion of IE
Between 2004 and 2006, a wave of attacks had targeted the main seaside resorts of the Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab and Taba, killing many. After 2011, the peninsula becomes more volatile because of safe floating accompanying the Egyptian revolution and its political consequences. But it is in the summer of 2013 after the dismissal by the army of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi as attacks multiply in the Sinai Peninsula.
Most deadly attacks have been claimed by the “Sinai Province” branch of EI in Egypt. In doing formerly called Ansar Beit al-Maqdess, the group changed its name to mark his allegiance to the IE.
The fighting is concentrated in the northeastern Sinai, especially around the triangle Al-Arish, Rafah and Sheikh Zouweïd. According to the first elements, the plane of the Russian company Metrojet crashed in central Sinai, away from the epicenter of the uprising.
The army, which regularly wipes deadly attacks in the region, regularly announces the death and capture of many jihadists since she has launched an offensive in mid-2012, but it is impossible to verify these independent sources ups.