Earlier today, we got the latest conflicting reports from the bevy of officials, “experts”, and investigators weighing in on the Russian passenger jet that fell out of the sky above the Sinai Peninsula.
According to Russian media, an Egyptian “forensic expert” has come to the conclusion that an explosion was likely the cause of the crash.
You needn’t be an “expert” to understand his logic. Essentially, he suggested that because body parts were scattered across such a wide radius, it seems likely that something on the plane blew up.
That doesn’t necessarily mean there was a bomb on board and indeed, if the plane’s tail wasn’t properly repaired after it struck a runway in 2001, it’s possible that a catastrophic failure resulting in a “violent explosion” could occur years later. Still, the fact that ISIS released a video purporting to show the plane exploding and the fact that the pilot did not contact anyone on the ground to indicate that anything had gone wrong, seems to suggest that something happened very quickly which resulted in the complete destruction of the aircraft.
Now, we get the latest on the ill-fated flight from Bloomberg and FlightRadar24, with the latter reporting that the plane essentially slowed down abruptly before falling out of the sky at 300 miles per hour. Here’s more:
The Russian plane that crashed Saturday in Egypt slowed suddenly and then plunged to the Earth at 300 miles (483 kilometers) per hour, according to revised data of its final moments captured by flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.
The Metrojet Airbus Group SE A321 carrying 224 people fell from 31,000 feet to 26,000 feet in the final 26 seconds, according to the final transmission from its radio transponder reporting information to the ground.
The new data is consistent with reports from Egyptian and Russian officials, who said that the plane came apart as it was flying at cruising altitude from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg. It also indicates that the plane’s direction of travel was wobbling from side to side, which would occur if it was coming apart.
It dropped gradually at first and then more rapidly as the plane’s forward speed slowed, according to the new data. By the last transmission, it was moving forward at only 54 miles (87 kilometers) an hour, far below a normal flying speed.
Raw data from the plane reported initially by FlightRadar24 suggested the aircraft was bucking up and down in its final seconds. The flight tracking firm now believes that altitude information was erroneous.
The newer information released Tuesday is based on global-positioning satellite data that the plane also transmitted, which the firm believes is more accurate, according to a posting on its website.
All of the above contradicts statements made earlier today by Egypt’s civil aviation ministry whose spokesman Mohamed Rahmi claims there's no proof that the plane came apart in the air.
In any event, this looks like further evidence that the plane did in fact explode, which means that either a tail strike that occurred in 2001 ultimately caused the plane to fall out of the sky 14 years later, or else someone detonated something on board.
The takeaway from the above is that this must have been an absolutely horrifying event - the plane explodes, the pieces basically stall at 31,000 feet before plummeting to the ground at 300 miles per hour. Once again, if there's any shred of evidence to corroborate claims that ISIS is responsible for this, you can expect the Russian Defense Ministry to begin airing daily videos depicting strikes on IS Sinai in short order.