US: Heat Flash Detected at Time of Russian Plane Crash

03 November, 2015

United States officials said Tuesday a U.S. military satellite detected a heat flash before a Russian airplane crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

The Metrojet A-321 crash happened on October 31, killing 224 people on board. That included 17 children. Investigators have not announced the cause of the crash.

Experts told U.S. reporters that the heat flash could point to a catastrophic event on the airplane, such as a bomb, a fire, or an engine explosion. They also said the heat flash could have been from aircraft parts hitting the ground.

This photo shows the tail of a Metrojet plane that crashed in Hassana, Egypt on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.
This photo shows the tail of a Metrojet plane that crashed in Hassana, Egypt on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.

Officials said they do not believe a missile hit the aircraft.

Investigators in Egypt have started their examination of the flight recorders recovered from the crash site.

Russian officials say the cockpit voice and flight data recorders received only "minor" damage. One investigator said early inspection showed the plane was not struck from the outside.

The investigator also said the pilot did not make a distress call before the plane disappeared from flight controllers' radar.

Russia has sent about 100 experts to help Egyptian officials search for the remains of victims and the aircraft debris.

On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi dismissed claims by the Islamic State that it brought down the airplane. He called the claims "propaganda" meant to "damage the stability and security of Egypt."

The Metrojet crash happened about 20 minutes after the plane took off from the Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The plane was traveling to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Several airlines have said they will stop flying over the Sinai peninsula for safety reasons.

This article was written by Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.


Words in This Story:

detect - v. to discover or notice the presence of (something that is hidden or hard to see, hear, taste, etc.)

catastrophic - adj. terrible; disastrous

cockpit - n. the area in a boat, airplane, etc., where the pilot or driver sits

debris - n. the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed