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Metrojet Plane Crash: US Officials Rule Out Missile, Point to Explosion

Image: Metrojet Plane Crash: US Officials Rule Out Missile, Point to Explosion
The remains of a Russian airliner which crashed is seen in central Sinai near El Arish city, north Egypt, October 31, 2015. (Stringer/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Nov 2015 08:00 AM

The Russian Metrojet plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday is still under investigation, however U.S. officials have likely ruled out the possibility that a missile hit the plane.

An unnamed senior defense official told NBC News late Monday that an American infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and place when the plane broke up in the air, scattering debris more than eight square miles.

The absence of a heat trail rules out the possibility that a surface-to-air missile brought down the plane, and U.S. intelligence analysts believe the heat flash could be the result of a fuel tank explosion or on-board bomb.

"The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table," the official said.

"The plane disintegrated at a very high altitude," after "there was an explosion of some kind," a second U.S. official told NBC News.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that 10 of the 224 people on board the airplane — mostly Russian tourists — had been identified. Additionally, 140 bodies and more than 100 body parts were transported by two planes to St. Petersburg, with a third to follow Tuesday night.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the crash on the day it happened, however both Egyptian and U.S. officials have said that is not the case.

Metrojet company spokespeople said that the crash was not the result of a mechanical failure or crew error, however Russian officials said that the investigation was ongoing, and that such conclusions were premature.

"Much more work will have to be done on a detailed study of the plane’s constructive elements; flight recorders will have to be deciphered and analyzed," Alexander Neradko, the head of the federal Air Transportation Agency, said on the Rossiya-24 news channel, The New York Times reported.

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The Russian Metrojet plane that crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday is still under investigation, however U.S. officials have likely ruled out the possibility that a missile hit the plane.
metrojet, plane, crash, missile, explosion
303
2015-00-03
Tuesday, 03 Nov 2015 08:00 AM
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