Another Russian plane (a cargo plane) has crashed along the banks of the Nile River in Sudan today killing dozens of people in the second deadly crash of a Russian plane in the region in less than a week. Was that crash also “an accident”? Are aircrafts falling from the sky be sheer accidents?
And now the UK says that the Russian plane that went down in Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula on Saturday “may well have been brought down by an explosive device,” the UK Prime Minister’s Office announced today.
What no one has fully debunked is the video ISIS provided in which critics never completely discounted and failed to show where did this footage come from? This is an important issue.
When it comes to Metrojet Flight 9268 in the Sinai no one produced a similar video that was taken in the past. On October 31, Shoebat.com reported that a missile was the plausible conclusion. And besides the UK supporting that an explosion is plausible, now a “U.S. military satellite detected a midair heat flash from the Russian airliner before the plane crashed Saturday, a U.S. official told CNN.” CNN adds:
Intelligence analysis has ruled out that the Russian commercial airplane was struck by a missile, but the new information suggests that there was a catastrophic in-flight event — including possibly a bomb, though experts are considering other explanations, according to U.S. officials.
More evidence reveals that our report is plausible. Cockpit recordings reveal “sounds uncharacteristic of routine flight,” according to a report from the Interfax news agency quoting officials in Cairo who say they have heard audio recordings from the Airbus 321’s cockpit voice recorders and that the transcript indicated that the conversation was routine until the “sounds uncharacteristic of routine flight” were heard.
To add to our report, the Russian news agency Tass reported that “elements that were not part of the plane” were found at the crash site,” and that those elements had been “sent for analysis.”
It all seems to add up and according to the Associated Press, Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director of the airline, Kogalymavia (the legally incorporated name of Metrojet) said Monday, “We rule out a technical fault of the plane or a pilot error. The only possible explanation could be an external impact on the airplane.”
The “only possible explanation” is “an external impact” which (if true) would indicate a missile.
Taking the video produced by ISIS and breaking it into frames reveals that this is a likely case. Although the video quality is poor, breaking it into frames reveals that the frame upon that “impact” (see frame #2 below) shows an incoming under the plane.
Not all missiles show a trace. In a following different footage, one can notice the missile at 1:30 appears as a shadow approaching the craft and the strike is hardly noticeable (see 1:30):
But to balance our observation we must also report others who would disagree. Steve Chadwick OBE, a former RAF commander with 26 years experience, has said the video not only shows the wrong type of plane, but also the wrong kind of fire.
He told Mirror Online: “It’s laughable that they might claim that is an Airbus 321. That is not an Airbus.”
“Even though the footage is very grainy that is an aircraft with the engines under the tail.”
“If the engine was on fire it would be coming from under the wing.”
Mr Chadwick believes the plane in the footage could be Ilyushin-62, the Russian version of the VC10, a legacy aircraft from the 1960s still in use.
The ex-pilot also refuted any claims the footage shows a plane hit by a missile or that the footage was even taken from the ground.
He said: “If that was hit with a surface-to-air missile it would obliterate it. It would disintegrate it and you would be looking at confetti. It’s just smoking.”
“What they’ve done is they’ve found [footage of] a plane with an engine fire.
“That’s air-to-air footage, it’s an aircraft following at a similar speed.”
However, they add: “Although unable to say categorically it is a fake, there are several reasons to question its credibility” they said.
Also, if one reviews the frames, the initial explosion is under the left wing and only in the frame after that one can see the fire remaining behind. Also, no expert was able to reproduce this video or show the origin of the footage.
Journalist Rob McDonagh told Mirror Online: “There are number of reasons we think it is not authentic; first of all, the plane started descending rapidly from about 33,000 feet.
“This plane appears to have been filmed flying at a much lower altitude.”
He continued: “Secondly, the video was not circulated in the usual manner; it was not posted to Telegram, the anonymous app, in the same way as previous IS videos, and it was not posted on the IS website.
“Finally, though the branding is similar to previous Wilayat Sinai videos, it is not exactly right.
“The logo, for example, does not appear throughout the videos, as is common.”
However, he adds: “Though we can’t say 100% video is fake, these factors are enough to make us believe it is not authentic.”
Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said on Tuesday there were no facts to substantiate assertions by Russian officials that the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday broke up in mid-air. We also see that the plane was still intact in the video.
All this seems to somewhat add plausibility on what we presumed on October 31 “ISIS Amaq agency claimed that ISIS downed the Russian airliner and produced two videos that show footage of a downed civilian aircraft”:
#عاجل تنظيم #الدولة_الإسلامية ينشر مقطع فيديو يقول إنه ﻹسقاط #الطائرة_الروسية في #سيناء pic.twitter.com/wxE4KRanht
— غريب (@iq2015_bgd) October 31, 2015
While no one has verified the source of the video, especially that on October 31, we proved there were contradictions in the initial report showing that someone is lying:
So which source do we believe in this case: the media or ISIS? Well, Fox news reveals that the official news is mired in contradictions:
Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government’s Aviation Incidents Committee, said the plane’s pilot, before losing contact, had radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to try and land at the nearest airport. The aircraft crashed at a site near the el-Arish airport, he said.
Fox then says: “It was not immediately possible to independently confirm that technical problems caused the plane to crash.” And then a complete contradiction:
Earlier, al-Muqadem told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but was safely in Turkish airspace.
The initial reported news as it seems was false. To add more doubt Russia’s transport minister claimed that MANPAD stinger missiles are not within range to bring down an airliner that was flying at 31000 feet since MANPADS have maximum reach of 15000 feet.
The main argument used against a missile is that “ISIS has deployed shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles in the past but they are not known to possess weapons that could bring down an airliner flying at high altitude.” However, the surprise comes when we find that SA-8 GECKO (9K33 Osa) was part of Libya’s stockpiles and these were used to down a cargo plane around Damascus by Syrian rebels last year which is highly mobile and has the range of 40,000 feet, well within distance of the reported height (36,000 ft).
Libya is next door to Egypt. “Libya possesses one of the most robust air defense networks on the African continent, falling second only to Egypt in terms of coverage and operational systems.”
And it is not unusual to have these missiles easily transported from Libya to the Sinai as one report reveals:
Egyptian Interior Ministry officials acknowledged on Thursday that they had arrested five small groups of smugglers transporting weapons from Libya, including antiaircraft missile launchers, across Egypt toward its border with Israel, raising new concerns about security in the Sinai Peninsula.
Israeli government officials said as early as July that troves of Libyan antiaircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons were being smuggled by land across Egypt into the neighboring Gaza Strip, thePalestinian territory that is under the control of the militant group Hamas.
And footage of using such missiles can easily be found from Damascus used by Syrian rebels last year:
Then we have the eyewitness account which do seem to corroborate the ISIS reported footage. Eyewitnesses reported one engine on fire as it went down, according to a report in Masry Al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper. A website called Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic around the globe, said the plane had been descending at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute just before it disappeared from radar.
Whether or not the video is old footage or staged productions has not been ruled out but heat seeking missiles usually hit one engine which leaves only 30% chance of landing safely. No agency has proved the footage to being fabricated and ISIS does infest the Sinai which makes their report plausible, especially when we see the official reporting contradictory including the claims that terrorists only have simple low range stingers is no longer the case as evidence reveals.