CAIRO: Egypt’s top prosecutor issued a decision Sunday to consider the crash site of the ill-fated Russian plane in Sinai Peninsula as restricted area until the end of investigations, according to Youm7.
All 224 passengers, including a crew of seven, on board of Russian airliner A321 were killed after the plane fell into a mountainous area in center of Sinai Peninsula Saturday. The plane reportedly lost radar contact 23 minutes after it departed Sharm el-Sheikh Airport heading to Russia.
At the time of writing, a total of 175 bodies have been recovered from the debris, Youm7 quoted sources at the crash site.
The two flight recorders (known as black boxes) were recovered from the plane, and the data recorded therein will be unloaded Sunday morning, according to statements by Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal.
More than 30 Russian experts arrived in Cairo to join investigations into the plane crash. The Russian Vladimir Putin declared a day of mourning for the victims.
Preliminary investigations showed “lack of criminal suspicion” and that the crash was a result of a “technical failure” in the plane, according to TV statements by Cabinet Spokesperson Hossam Qaweesh.
The militant group Sinai Province, an affiliate with the Islamic State group, claimed Saturday its responsibility for the downing of the Russian plane, but Russia’s Transport Minister told Interfax news agency the claim “can’t be considered accurate,” according to Reuters.
In statements to Aswat Masriya, Minister Kamal said that the plane was at 31,000 feet when it lost radar contact and it is impossible to have been targeted by a rocket at this altitude.