'Heat flash' recorded over Sinai at time of plane crash

2015-11-03 12:48
Debris of the A321 Russian airliner lie on the ground a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. (AFP)

Debris of the A321 Russian airliner lie on the ground a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sinai - A US infrared satellite has reportedly detected a heat flash at the time a Russian passenger jet went down in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, a US official has said, as the investigation into the deadly plane crash continues. 

The official told NBC News on Tuesday that the US intelligence community believes that it could have been some kind of explosion on the plane itself, either a fuel tank or a bomb.

The same satellite imagery ruled out a surface-to-air missile attack, the news channel reported.

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

The jet crashed on Saturday, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board.

Investigators are examining all possible causes as part of an Egyptian-led probe into the disaster that also involves experts from Russia, Airbus, and Ireland, where the aircraft was registered.

Related: Sinai crash victims flown to Russia

Analysts have dismissed claims that the jet was shot down by a group affilitated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if it was flying at a cruising height of 9 000 metres, but did not rule out that a bomb might have been planted on board.

A second US defence official also confirmed that the US surveillance satellite detected a "flash or explosion" in the air over the peninsula at the time of the crash, NBC News reported.

According to the official, "the plane disintegrated at a very high altitude," when, as the infrared satellite indicates, there was an explosion of some kind".


The reports come as Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi dismissed claims that a branch of ISIL downed Kogalymavia airline's flight 9268.

"When there is propaganda that it crashed because of ISIS, this is one way to damage the stability and security of Egypt and the image of Egypt," Sisi told BBC News, using an alternative acronym for ISIL.

"Believe me, the situation in Sinai - especially in this limited area - is under our full control," he said.

Analysis of the "black boxes", which could solve the mystery of what brought down the plane, is expected to begin on Tuesday according to Egyptian officials.

Russia's government commission overseeing the crash probe is also due to meet.

Moscow also dismissed the claim by Egypt's ISIL branch that it brought down the plane, which was bound for Saint Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh.

A top US intelligence official said on Monday that it was "unlikely" ISIL was involved in the crash.

'No technical fault'

On Monday, Kogalymavia, which operates flights under the name Metrojet, said the crash of the plane was due to "external" factors.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, senior Kogalymavia executive Alexander Smirnov said that "no technical failures" could account for why the Airbus 321 would have broken up in mid-air.

"The only explanation is some kind of external action," he said without elaborating, adding that the plane was in "excellent technical condition".

Smirnov said the company had ruled out a technical fault or human error and that the plane had sustained "significant damage to its construction that did not allow it to continue the flight."

"The crew totally lost control and for that reason there was not one attempt to get in contact and report on the accident situation on board," Smirnov said. The plane was "flying out of control - that is, it wasn't flying, it was falling".

Alexander Neradko, head of Russia's aviation authority, criticised the airline's comments as "premature and not based on any real facts".

Read more on:    russia  |  egypt  |  air crashes  |  aviation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.