Russian Airliner Downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula
by Alexander Chen on Friday, November 20th, 2015
On October 31, 2015, Metrojet 9268 crashed into the North part of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. The passenger jet was operated by the Russian airline Kogalymavia (Metrojet) and was carrying 217 passengers and seven crewmembers. The plane departed from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt at 5:45 Egypt Standard Time (EST) and was scheduled to arrive at Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg, Russia. At about 6:20 EST, air control lost contact with the plane and the plane disappeared from radar. Seconds before the loss of signal, the plane had begun to rapidly descend and lose speed.
“It went down from 400 knots to 62 knots and then it suddenly started to drop fast,” analyst Mikail Robertson told the BBC. The wreckage was later found in the Sinai Peninsula. All 224 people on board were killed.
What exactly caused the crash? According to The Independent on November 2nd, ISIS claimed responsibility for the crash, saying, “The fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God.” According to Reuters, on November 18th, ISIS published a photo of a Schweppes soda can in its official magazine, claiming to have used it to create the makeshift bomb which caused the fatal Metrojet crash. Experts from Russian and Western governments have looked into the matter and concluded that ISIS’s claims are feasible and likely true.
Recently, the number of commercial aircraft incidents has been on the rise. Last year in 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. This year, a pilot deliberately crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain in southern France in an apparent suicide, and now Metrojet Flight 9268 has crashed into the Sinai Peninsula. These four incidents have prompted thought among travelers regarding the safety of plane travel. However, In 2015, out of the millions of flights that departed, only four led to crashes resulting in 50 or more casualties. Therefore, in the big picture, transportation by plane still proves to be a relatively safe choice.
A British national security official observed that security procedures at the Sinai airport were “poorly supervised” and “[lacked] consistency.” However, Mr. Emmott, a history teacher at Milton, believes that people are not focusing on the right thing. He hypothesized that the “plane crash (if it was due to a bomb placed on the plane) would suggest that the anti-government violence in Sinai has advanced to a new level.” Mr. Emmott also suggests that the lax security measures at the airport were not the big issue. He claims that the larger issue is that the “government under General Sissi cannot maintain control over the basics.”
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