'Impact' Most Likely Caused Russian Plane Crash, Airline Says

Debris from the crashed Russian passenger jet lies strewn Saturday across the sand in Sinai, Egypt. Photo: EPA

MOSCOW — The Russian airline whose plane crashed in Egypt over the weekend said today the disaster was most likely caused by an external "impact."

"The only plausible reason can be a mechanical impact on the plane," the deputy general director of Kogalymavia, a small airline that operates flights under the name Metrojet, told a press conference.

"There is no combination of system failures that could cause the plane to be destroyed in the air," Alexander Smirnov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Saturday's crash, in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, was the deadliest in Russian history, with 224 people killed.

The crash happened about 20 minutes after flight 9268 took off on an early morning flight from the popular resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh to Russia's second largest city, St. Petersburg.

Almost all of the victims were Russian, authorities said. There were no survivors.

The plane was an 18-year-old, twin-engine Airbus A321-200, which seats up to 240 passengers, the French manufacturer said in a statement.

In 2011 a Kogalymavia airliner's fuel tank blew up after an engine fire started while the plane, a Russian-made Tu-154, was at an airport in the Siberian city of Surgut.

Story: DPA