The possibility of terrorism in the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 Thursday has raised potential parallels with the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 that was downed over Egypt in October killing all 224 people on board.
The EgyptAir A320 aircraft had 66 people on board and was flying from Paris to Cairo before disappearing approximately 175 miles away from Egypt’s coast. In the case of Metrojet, the A321 aircraft was en route from the Egyptian resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia. In that instance, an EgyptAir mechanic was one of four people suspected of planting the bomb that brought the airplane down, Reuters reported. The mechanic was alleged to have a cousin who had joined the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
Egyptian officials were considering terrorism as a possible cause of Thursday’s disaster. U.S. government officials told CNN they were considering the working theory that the aircraft could have been downed by a bomb. Flight 804 swerved and dropped rapidly in altitude before its disappearance Thursday. Greece has sent both aircraft and a frigate to investigate a possible crash location in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.S. Navy has also sent an aircraft to aid in the search.
“If you analyze the situation properly, the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem],” said Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy, the Guardian reported.
Metrojet Flight 9268 went down approximately 30 minutes into the flight and an affiliate of ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. A Russian investigation found in November that a bomb with up to 1 kilogram of TNT had caused the plane to explode.
With security in mind, the U.K. banned British airlines from flying to the Sharm el-Sheikh airport and Russia also suspended air communications with Egypt, saying it would resume once Egypt had reached proper flight safety standards. More than 3 million Russians visited Egypt in 2014, and the crash as well as domestic terror attacks have adversely affected the country’s tourism industry.
The director of Russia’s Federal Security Service said Thursday that a terrorist attack could have downed EgyptAir Flight 804.
“Unfortunately, another incident with an aircraft of Egypt airlines took place today. It was most likely a terrorist attack that killed 66 people from 12 countries,” said Alexander Bortnikov, Russian government news agency Tass reported.
Bortnikov called on countries to work together to identify the people involved in the “terrible attack.”