Thousands of tourists stranded in Egypt as Russia probes Metrojet cause

Tens of thousands of tourists have been stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh due to suspended flights after the deadly Metrojet disaster. Now some of the wreckage has been taken to Moscow for explosives testing, in the wake of suggestions that an Islamic State bomb might have been the cause. Meanwhile, the U.S. stepped up airport security. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner reports.

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    Russia suspended all flights to Egypt today, and the U.S. stepped up security efforts, as the search continues for answers to what brought down that Russian plane. The passenger jet crashed over the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

    Margaret Warner has the story.


    It was chaos at the Sharm el-Sheikh Airport today. Britain's ambassador to Egypt tried to reassure anxious travelers, to little avail.

  • WOMAN:

    So, what's the problem? You're stuttering now. We want to go home.


    About 20,000 British tourists have been stuck, as flight schedules remain in flux. Today was the first time flights were available back to Britain. Now about 30,000 Russian tourists are joining the chaos, after Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a turnaround, stopped all flights to Egypt.

    Russia's security chief made the recommendation this morning.

  • ALEXANDER BORTNIKOV, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) (through interpreter):

    I think it will be reasonable to suspend all Russian flights until we determine the real causes of what happened. We must reach completely objective and validated conclusions. That's important for both the investigation and informing people.


    Some wreckage from the plane crash site has been taken to Moscow for explosives testing. Yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said it was more likely than not that a bomb brought the plane down. And the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

    There were also reports that chatter intercepted from suspected militants pointed to that conclusion as well.

    Still, in Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest wasn't ready to make any declarations.

  • JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:

    The United States still has not made our own determination about the cause of the incident. And while we can't rule anything in or out, we have to consider the possibility of potential terrorist involvement here.


    Today, however, the Homeland Security Department announced new precautions for U.S.-bound flights from the region, including stepped-up baggage and cargo screening.

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