- Airline rules out pilot error, systems failure as cause
- Airline doesn't comment on possibility of terrorist attack
“It could have been anything,” Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director for Kogalymavia, known by the Metrojet brand, told reporters at a briefing in Moscow Monday, declining to comment on a possible terrorist attack. “The only reasonable explanation may be a mechanical impact on the aircraft.”
The plane probably broke up in midair after reaching a cruising altitude of 31,000 feet, strewing debris over a wide area. Before falling, it slowed abruptly and the crew didn’t make any attempts at emergency radio contact, Smirnov said. The crash occurred 23 minutes after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular Red Sea resort, bound for St. Petersburg.
“The plane was out of control,” Smirnov said.
Pilot error or a systems failure couldn’t have caused crash, Smirnov said. The A321 had been properly serviced and was in good technical condition, said Andrey Averyanov, the airline’s deputy general director for engineering. A tail strike in 2001 had been fully repaired, he said.