Black boxes of crashed Russian aircraft to be returned to Moscow for analysis

Published November 2nd, 2015 - 07:31 GMT

Russian Ambassador to Egypt Sergei Kerbachenko announced Sunday that the two black boxes of the Russian plane will be transferred to Moscow to analyse their content as part of the investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

Kerbachenko said that there is full coordination between the Egyptian and Russian government to conduct the investigations into the cause of the crash.

Late Saturday, Egypt's Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal had said the black boxes will be analysed by a central committee inside the ministry of civil aviation, adding that representatives from the "Russian side" and the company that produced the plane, Airbus, will participate in the process.

Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, was carrying 217 passengers and 7 crew members from the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg in Russia on Saturday morning when it disappeared from the radar 23 minutes after take-off at an altitude of 31,000 feet.

The debris of the crashed charter flight was later found in al-Hasna in Egypt’s North Sinai.

Kerbachenko stressed in a press conference on Sunday, that the accident will not influence the strength of Russia's relations with Egypt.

There were no survivors and there is an ongoing search for the bodies of some of the victims, according to the Russian embassy in Egypt. At time of publication, a total of 179 recovered bodies were being transferred to Moscow.

Kerbachenko declined to give comments on allegations that an ISIS [Daesh] affiliate group in North Sinai was involved in bringing down the plane.

A high-level Russian delegation arrived in Cairo Saturday evening and arrived at the crash site Sunday morning along with two experts from Airbus, who arrived from France Sunday morning.

Two other German experts, where the plane was manufactured in 1997, are expected to arrive Sunday evening to join the commmittee tasked with investigating the accident, according to a statement by the Egyptian ministry of civil aviation.

Airbus said "an Airbus go-team of technical advisors stands-by ready" to provide technical assistance in a statement on Saturday. The France-based company added that there are "some 6,500" planes from the A320 aircraft family in service, as of the end of September 2015.

Around a third of all tourists flying to Egypt last year were Russian, said Sami Mahmoud, the head of the tourism promotion authority in press statements.

Some 1.5 million Russian tourists have visited Egypt this year, an Egyptian tourism official told Aswat Masriya. In 2014, more than 3 million Russians arrived in Egypt, according to Egypt's tourism minister.

The incident is expected to impact tourism levels in Egypt, a vital sector that is still reeling from the effect of years of political turmoil following the January 2011 uprising.

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