A top official at Metrojet, the Russian airline company whose flight crashed Saturday in Egypt, is insisting that a technical fault could not have caused the crash.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Kremlin said there were not yet any grounds to rule out any theory for the crash.
He made the comments in reply to a question about whether a terrorist attack could be to blame.
Alexander Smirnov, the deputy general director of Metrojet, told reporters Monday in Moscow that no technical fault could have caused the Airbus A320-200 to break up in the air. He says the cause of the crash “could only have been a mechanical impact on the plane” in the air.
Russian investigators say the plane broke up at high altitude but have so far refrained from naming possible causes.
The Metrojet crashed Saturday morning 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board, the vast majority of them Russians.
A Russian official says forensic experts have begun identifying the bodies of the crash’s 224 victims.
Yulia Shoigu, chief of the emergency situations ministry’s psychological service, made the comment Monday in televised remarks.
Russia has sent over 100 emergency workers and aviation experts to help Egypt examine the crash site in the Sinai Peninsula. French, German and Airbus aviation teams are also helping the investigation.
A Russian government plane on Monday brought 140 bodies of plane crash victims to St. Petersburg, where most of the passengers were from.
Another plane will be taking more crash victims’ bodies to St. Petersburg from Cairo late Monday night.