On October 31, a Russian passenger jet crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, resulting in the death of all 224 people on board. There were 217 passengers and seven crew members. Of the passengers, 209 were Russian, four were Ukrainian, and one was Belarusian. The citizenships of the three other passengers remains unknown. The plane was on its way from the Egyptian resort called Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg when 23 minutes into the flight it dropped off the radar. Nothing strange occurred and no distress calls were made before the flight fell off the radar.
The manifest shows many passengers with the same last name, indicating there were several families on board. At least 25 children are among the dead and it is believed that the crash created many orphans back in Russia because parents often go to Sharm el-Sheikh for holiday, leaving their children behind. In St. Petersburg, there are makeshift shrines where mourners are leaving flowers and stuffed animals.
Officials say it is too early to determine the cause of the crash. A U.S. satellite that was over Sinai during the time of the crash detected a heat flash. Recently, it has been shown that the flash occurred in midair, which helps investigators narrow down the possibilities of what happened to the plane. The possibilities include: a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding, or a structural problem which could have caused a fire on the plane. So far, the Russian airline has ruled out technical problems and human error in the crash. The plane, an A321-200, was built in 1997 and had flown almost 21,000 times. It also passed the routine aircraft inspection before takeoff. The Sinai Peninsula, where the plane crashed, has been a battleground between ISIS militants and Egyptian security forces. The conflict has taken the lives of hundreds of people. ISIS has claimed responsibility but officials have said no evidence has been found yet and warn people not to believe the image ISIS is posting on the internet. The Egyptian military said militants in Sinai only have weapons that can shoot up to 14,000 feet while the plane was more than 30,000 feet in the air at the time it lost radar contact. Although the likelihood of the crash being caused by terrorists is low, no agencies have ruled it out. At the site of the crash, Russian officials have joined Egyptian investigators. The plane’s black boxes have been recovered but have not been decoded yet. Officials state that it is too early to confidently say what caused the crash.
Two flights carrying the remains of victims have flown to Russia. The first carried 130 bodies and several body fragments. It is unsure how many remains were aboard the second flight on November 3rd. As investigators continue to work diligently, information concerning the cause of the crash is bound to come up, providing grieving families with closure.
Since 2014, several plane crashes like Malaysia Airlines Flights 370 and 17 have held prominant positions in the headlines. With deadly crashes like these, many people are beginning to question the safety of flying.