Earlier Wednesday, it became clear that Britain will take steps to ensure their aircraft flying to/from Sharm el-Sheikh after a plane with 224 people crashed last week.
Now the US intelligence believes that it was probably a bomb which caused the accident, and that it is likely that it is Islamic state (IS) behind the tragic crash, CNN writes.
The informant emphasizes that it has not been drawn any final conclusions of the investigation, but this is what they see as the most likely cause.
News of the U.S. intelligence analysis comes hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said a bomb may have caused the crash.
“While the investigation is still ongoing, we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed,” the Prime Minister’s office said. “But as more information has come to light, we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”
Passengers in the rear end of the plane had injuries that could have be caused by a bomb. The tail-section of the plane separated from the aircraft mid-air and landet 3 miles away from the fuselage. American satellite fotos also show a light from the airplane that could be from a bomb.
The airplane had an accident in 2001 where the tail section bumped the runway, but it was repaired and safety inspections every 24 months after that have not revelead any cracks or structure fatigue.
At the news conference, the airline, founded as Kogalymavia but flying under the name Metrojet, rejected criticism that the airplane was too old to fly. It also rejected the possibility that the tail strike in 2001 during a landing in Cairo, when the aircraft was operated by a different airline, might have left fatal structural flaws.
There have been at least two previous cases in which airplanes either broke apart or became unmanageable long after similar tail repairs were done.
A China Airlines Boeing 747 en route to Hong Kong from Taiwan in May 2002 broke into several pieces as it was climbing to 35,000 feet, killing all 225 people on board. The repairs made 22 years earlier on the tail failed, causing a sudden and explosive decompression, according to the analysis by the Taiwanese government.
A Japan Airlines 747 had a similar failure in 1985, seven years after a tail strike had been repaired. The crew struggled to control the plane for 46 minutes after takeoff before it crashed, killing all but four of the 524 people on board.
Ireland also said Wednesday that it was suspending all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh until further notice, according to a statement from the Irish Aviation Authority.
The Metrojet flight full of mostly Russian vacationers, bound for St. Petersburg from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh, plummeted after having reached cruising altitude, scattering in chunks and bits across almost eight square miles.
The lack of information has been exacerbated by unsubstantiated claims from the Islamic State that its militants destroyed the aircraft to avenge colleagues killed by Russia’s immersion into the Syria war.
Less than half an hour later, the 18-year-old Airbus A321-200 began to descend at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute. It abruptly climbed and descended several times, then disappeared from radar screens, according to NY Times.
Height (above) and the ground speed (below):
Investigators probing what caused a passenger plane to crash Saturday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula have turned their attention to who was on board — and who would have had access to the doomed jetliner before takeoff.
An airport source told NBC News that Egyptian security at Sharm el-Sheikh Airport has been focusing on who gained entry to the departure hall, was part of the catering and cleaning services, and had permission to be in the departure lounge.
The Metrojet-operated Airbus A321, which was headed for St. Petersburg, was carrying 224 people on board, mostly Russian vacationers visiting the Red Sea resort. No one survived.
Some analysts have said a 2001 accident in which the Airbus A321’s tail section was damaged when it smacked into the tarmac on landing could have contributed to a longstanding structural problem.
But the plane, which was originally registered in Ireland, was repaired. Irish authorities said that as of last May, the plane’s certification was in order.
Capt. Mike Vivian, a U.K.-based aviation and safety analyst, said that if the aircraft cabin was physically compromised in any way, that would have proved disastrous.
“If you have a pressurized environment such as an aircraft cabin, obviously a fracture is very serious and could potentially bring the aircraft down,” he said.
AT A GLANCE
The tragedy in Sinai is the tenth Airbus crash in as many years: