“It would be wrong to articulate any preliminary guesses or voice statements that are not based on anything,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, on Monday. “Let the investigators produce at least some results first.”
The crew of Kolavia Flight 7K9268 was apparently disabled before the aircraft started its rapid descent and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, Viktor Yung, deputy director of the airline told the media on Monday.
“As the catastrophic incident started to develop, the crew members were rendered completely incapable. This explains why they didn’t attempt to contact air traffic and report the incident happening on board,” he said.
The airline doesn’t believe human error could have been the cause of the disaster either, citing the experience of its captain and other crewmembers.
“We are certain that neither technical malfunction nor pilot error” can be blamed for the disaster, Aleksandr Smirnov, who supervises the company’s fleet, said.
“The only possible explanation is a mechanical force acting on the aircraft,” Smirnov said. “There is no combination of system failures that could have broken the plane apart in the air.”
The company gave assurances that the crashed Airbus had passed all necessary tests, including a check for metal fatigue in 2014, an inspection that must be done every six years.
The head of the Russian aviation authority, Aleksand Neradko, said Kogalymavia’s statements are “premature and not based on real facts.”
“There is much work to be done to study the debris of the aircraft and the data of the flight recorders,” he told Rossiya 24 news channel. “The debris is indeed spread over a large area indicating that the plane fell apart at a high altitude. But speculating on the cause is premature.”
Investigators said they were looking into all possible causes of the crash, including human error, technical failure and foul play.
A militant group associated with Islamic State claimed to have shot down the Russian plane. But this claim was deemed unreliable, since the shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles they may have in their possession have too short a range to take down a plane flying at a high altitude.
“Now, different media report… that a Russian passenger airliner on a flight from Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg has been allegedly shot down by an anti-aircraft missile fired by terrorists. This information cannot be regarded as reliable,” said Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov.
“Experts have affirmed that technically planes at this altitude cannot be shot down, and the black box will be the one that will reveal the reasons for the crash,” Mr Ismail was quoted by state news agency MENA as saying.
There are no traces of explosives on the plane parts examined by specialists, a source close to the investigation told RIA Novosti on Monday.