Investigation reveals ‘heat flash’ just before Russian passenger plane went down; can’t rule out terror attack

As officials investigate what caused a Russian passenger airplane to crash in Egypt last week, new evidence doesn’t rule out possible terrorist activity.

A U.S. satellite over the area detected a heat flash about the same time Metrojet Flight 9268 fell from the sky, but officials reviewing the data are trying to figure out if the flash occurred before or after the plane crashed, CNN reported.

The Islamic State took responsibility for bringing down the plane shortly after it crashed, saying that it shot the aircraft down with a surface to air missile.

Russian Plane Crash
Image credit CNN.

According to analysts who spoke to CNN, a heat flash can be caused by a number of things including a missile firing, a bomb exploding, an engine blowing up, a fire on board the aircraft or simply the debris hitting the ground.

“The number of heat signatures is crucial,” aviation analyst, Miles O’Brien, told CNN. “If, in fact, only one was detected, that in some respects might steer one away from a missile launch and onto some idea of an explosion onboard the aircraft.”

The airline said it has ruled out human error or technical problems, but Russian officials say it is premature to make that determination.

Egyptian officials said no distress call was received before the crash.

“There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash,” Hossam Kamel, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister said on Saturday. “It suddenly disappeared from the radar.”

According to CNN, most experts still believe technical failure is the likely cause for the crash.

Carmine Sabia

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