Egyptian investigators insist they have no evidence that an explosive device destroyed a Russian-operated Airbus A321 over Sinai with the loss of all on board.

The investigation committee states, in a preliminary analysis, that it has not received “any information indicating unlawful interference” to the MetroJet aircraft, which crashed after departing Sharm el-Sheikh on 31 October.

Its analysis does not specify the reasons for the initial findings, which appear to counter Russian security service claims that traces of explosives were found in the debris.

Nor has it elaborated, publicly, about the origin of the unexplained noise captured by the cockpit-voice recorder immediately before its data stream ceased.

Suspicions that a bomb brought down the airliner were also expressed by the UK government, within a week of the loss, prompting airlines to suspend operations to Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Egyptian investigator in charge, Ayman El-Moqadem, says the initial assessment has been distributed to participants in the probe, which includes preliminary information so-far available to the committee and “some information that will be subjected to developments” as the inquiry progresses.

“Co-operation and communication with [these participants] are still in a continuous process to exchange information regarding the accident,” says the committee.

It states that the search for wreckage extended to a distance of more than 16km from the main crash site.

Some 38 computer systems have been removed from the A321 for analysis, as well as two computers from its International Aero Engines V2500 powerplants.

All parties participating in the inquiry, including a Russian team, have been granted a “full opportunity” to examine the wreckage at the crash site, says the committee, before transfer to a secure location in Cairo for further analysis.

The inquiry is carrying out a detailed study of the technical condition of the jet and repairs that were carried out on the aircraft, the committee says, backed by documentation supplied by Russian authorities.

“This study needs plenty of time,” says the committee, because the aircraft was a 1997 airframe.

Investigators have access to flight-data recorder information showing that the aircraft operated exclusively to Russian and Egyptian airports in the five days prior to the crash.

Checks are being made on the pilots’ training regime, licence status and medical history, while the technical examination – which will include metallurgical input – has been classifying debris sections along with their location.

Source: Cirium Dashboard