Cairo: Investigators of the Russian plane crash in Egypt are “90 percent sure” the noise heard in the final second of a cockpit recording was an explosion caused by a bomb, a member of the investigation team told Reuters on Sunday.
“The indications and analysis so far of the sound on the black box indicate it was a bomb,” said the Egyptian investigation team member, who asked not to be named due to sensitivities. “We are 90 percent sure it was a bomb.” Asked to explain the missing 10 percent, the investigator said: “I can’t discuss this now.” Daesh terrorists fighting security forces in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula have said they brought down the Airbus A321, which crashed 23 minutes after taking off from the resort of Sharm Al Shaikh a week ago en route to St Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers.
Egyptian officials say they are examining all possible scenarios on what could have caused the disaster but have cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
Meanwhile, Russia has returned 11,000 Russian tourists from Egypt in the last 24 hours, RIA news agency reported on Sunday, citing Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
More people are expected to be brought back on Sunday, he was quoted as saying.
Around 80,000 Russians were stranded in Egypt after the Kremlin had grounded all flights to the country on Friday. Around 17,000 Britons are also still stranded and London has warned that some may have to stay on longer before they can be flown home.
About 2,500 travellers have been repatriated to Britain since Friday.
At various hotels in the resort town, stranded Britons mostly stayed indoors or on private beaches, ready to leave for the airport at short notice.
Tour operators and airlines are to reimburse them for extended stays, but many tourists blamed their airlines for “mismanaging” the situation.
“The hotel and its staff are great, but the airline has not called us, nor telephoned or emailed,” Rob Ashford, 27, said as he stepped out of the swimming pool at a luxury hotel.
“We have been told not to step out of the hotel for security reasons.”
Ashford and his girlfriend were scheduled to return to Manchester on Friday, but on Sunday there was still no indication when they would take off.
“We are living on a day-to-day basis. Nobody knows anything. Looks like we may be here for another week,” he said.