The head of Egypt’s investigation into last week’s Russian airliner crash in the Sinai Peninsula said Saturday the cockpit recording registered a noise in its last second.
“All scenarios are being considered,” Ayman el-Muqadem said at a news conference in Cairo. “It could be lithium batteries in the luggage of one of the passengers, it could be an explosion in the fuel tank.”
El-Muqadem told reporters the recording is being sent to a lab for further analysis and cautioned it is too soon to draw conclusions.
The chartered Airbus 321 jet from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheik crashed 23 minutes after takeoff, killing all 224 people on board.
Most of the 217 passengers — and all seven crew members — were Russians, with the exceptions of three Ukrainian citizens and one passenger from Belarus.
Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said Saturday the U.S. and U.K. intelligence agencies have not shared with Egypt their information about a flash of light that might point to an explosion bringing down the plane.
Meanwhile, aviation officials in France said they are ruling out any “technical failure.”
Russia has suspended all commercial flights to Egypt over airport security concerns but is sending 90 planes this weekend to pick up stranded Russian tourists.