As aviation authorities rule out pilot or technical error in the crash of a Russian airliner that killed 224 over the weekend, experts are leaning increasingly toward the theory that the explosion was an act of terrorism.
The crash, in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, could only have been the result of some other "technical or physical action" which caused it to break up in the air and plummet to the ground, said Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director of the airline, Kogalymavia.
He did not specify what that action might have been, saying it was up to the official investigation to determine.
Terrorism and aviation experts, meanwhile, point to several factors, including the fact that mishaps are very unlikely during the phase of the plane’s ascent in which the catastrophe occurred.
That would leave two possibilities: a strike by a surface-to-air missile, or a bomb exploding on board the plane. Of the two, the bomb theory is gaining more credence because a missile strike at the altitude at which the plane was flying is outside the range of most devices in the hands of known terror groups.
Terrorism and aviation experts believe a bomb may have been responsible, citing the fact there was no distress call and that the fuselage skin had peeled outwards possibly due to a "force acting outwards from within," the Daily Mail reported.
Professor Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute, thinks a bomb on board was the mostly likely scenario for the plane’s crash.
“There's no sign of a distress call, so the idea that the aircraft was undergoing an mechanical problem, or an engine problem, or a fire, or something like that, you would expect that there would be some sort of distress call beforehand,” he told BBC Radio Five Live. “So the fact that there was a catastrophic failure at 31,000 feet, with the aircraft falling in two pieces, suggests to me an explosion on board.
"So was this caused by some form of terrible accident, which is unlikely, or a bomb, which is much more likely, my mind is moving in that direction rather than anything that happened on the ground."
Another aviation expert cited by the Daily Mail
wrote on a web blog for pilots that the tail section of the aircraft also shows evidence of “the fuselage skin peeling outwards possibly indicative of a force acting outwards from within. Similarly there's the very clean break around the fuselage frame. It looks like and initial failure as opposed to something twisting and tearing it up apart as it fell.”
A Russian expert close to the Egypt plane crash investigation compared the crash to the Lockerbie tragedy of 1988, when a PanAm Boeing 747 was blown out of the sky by a bomb over Scotland. An explosive device could have been planted in the luggage hold, he theorized.
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