Putin suspend Russian air traffic with Egypt

BY: cnn.com

European investigators who analyzed the two flight recorders from the Metrojet plane that went down last weekend in Egypt are categorically saying the crash is not an accident, CNN affiliate France 2 reported Friday.

The investigators said the cockpit voice recorder of Metrojet Flight 9268 shows an explosion and the flight data recorder confirms the explosion is not accidental -- there is no sign of mechanical malfunction during the initial part of the flight, France 2 reported. Everything is fine during the first 24 minutes, then in a fraction of a second there is a blackout and no more cockpit conversation, convincing investigators there was a bomb on board, according to France 2.


CNN Aviation Analyst Richard Quest said there would have been different data on the black boxes if there was a catastrophic failure than if there was an explosion. The key is what happened just before the data suddenly stops, he said.

"It's this split second, and it's a millisecond, where you hear an explosion of some description," he said. "And you see all the parameters (on the recorders) go haywire before the power is completely lost. If this report is accurate, (investigators) have now analyzed that ... heard it and they can identify it."

If the plane had broken apart due to structural failure, there would have been more noise -- and for a longer time, he said.

France's air accident investigation agency, the BEA, told CNN that Egyptian officials will make an announcement about the crash investigation within the next 24 hours.

An Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said on Twitter that the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation will hold a new conference at 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) Saturday. The Foreign Affairs Ministry did not provide any detail about the topic of Saturday's media briefing.

Also Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to suspend Russian air traffic with Egypt until the cause of the crash can be determined, the Kremlin said.

"Putin has accepted the recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee to suspend flights with Egypt. ... The President has also instructed to provide assistance to Russian citizens to return from Egypt. In addition, the President has instructed to engage with the Egyptian side to ensure the safety of air traffic," the Kremlin said.

The United States and Britain shared their intelligence with Russia concerning the Metrojet crash before Putin made the decision to suspend flights, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN's Matthew Chance late Friday.

Putin spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the security situation in Egypt.

"The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation between the relevant security authorities in the two countries," el-Sisi's office said. "It was agreed that Russian flights to Egypt would resume at the soonest time possible."