Egypt plane crash investigators '90% sure' it was a bomb

Egypt plane crash investigators "90% sure" the explosion heard on the black box recording of the Russian flight was a bomb, a member of the investigation team told Reuters.

A memorial service for the 224 victims of the crash was be held in St Petersburg today.

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Russia sends inspectors to Egypt to probe airport security

Airport officials have claimed some staff took bribes. Credit: Reuters

Russia has sent the first of three teams of inspectors to Egypt to examine security conditions at airports there following the plane crash which killed 224.

Deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich's announcement follows Russia's decision on Friday to suspend passenger flights to Egypt in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Sources said Sharm el-Sheikh's airport has an alarming record of gaps in security, including a key baggage scanning device that is often not working and lax searches at an entry gate for food and fuel for the planes.

One of the officials, involved in security for planes, also pointed to bribe-taking by poorly-paid policemen monitoring X-ray machines.

"I can't tell you how many times I have caught a bag full of drugs or weapons that they have let through for 10 euros or whatever," he told the Associated Press.

Hammond: Airport security must be tightened

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Credit: PA

Airport security around the world will have to be tightened if it is confirmed the Russian plane crash was caused by a bomb, the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Philip Hammond said there would have to be a major re-think of airport security in countries where so-called Islamic State (IS) is active if it turned out they were behind the attack.

He said tourists may face extra delays checking in at airports if security needs to be increased.

Tightened security could mean holidaymakers face additional delays. Credit: Reuters

Speaking to BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, he said: "If this turns out to be a device planted by an IS operative, or by somebody inspired by IS, then clearly we will have to look again at the level of security we expect to see in airports in areas where IS is active."

What we have got to do is ensure that airport security everywhere is at the level of the best and that airport security reflects the local conditions.

Where there is a higher local threat level that will mean higher levels of security are required.

That may mean additional costs, it may mean additional delays at airports as people check in.

– Philip Hammond

Egyptian officials investigating the crash which killed 224 people say they are now "90% sure" it was a bomb which brought the plane down.

Memorial service for victims of Russian plane crash

The memorial in St Petersburg Credit: Reuters

A memorial service for the victims of the Russian jet that crashed is being held in St Petersburg today.

The cathedral bells will toll 224 times, once each for the 224 who lost their lives.

Investigations are continuing but it is believed the plane was brought down by a bomb.

Flowers left on wreckage of Russian jet in tribute to dead

A child's shoe is surrounded by flowers at the crash site. Credit: APTN

Flowers in memory of those who died have been left at the scene where the Russian jet crashed in Egypt last week.

Russian and Egyptian emergency workers laid flowers on the wreckage of the plane, which was travelling from Sharm-el Sheikh to St. Petersburg when it crashed.

A serviceman lays a flower on the wreckage of the aircraft. Credit: APTN


'Noise heard in last second of recording', says minister

Investigators from five different countries are working to try to establish a cause of the crash Credit: Balkis Press/ABACA

Investigators analysing evidence taken from the crash site of a Russian passenger plane that went down in Egypt, killing 224 people, say a "noise was heard in the last second" of a recording taken from one of the flight's black boxes.

The Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister told a press conference: "There was a noise that was heard at the last second of the CVR which would require that spectral analysis will be conducted in specialised laboratories in order to identify the nature of the sound."

According to the minister investigators are still at the "stage of data collection" and "are attaching importance to all the possible scenarios" as they continue to try to identify the cause of the crash.

The investigations committee is made up of 47 investigators, including 29 experts from Egypt, seven from Russia, six from France, two from Germany, and three from Ireland, as well as 11 accident advisers.

Egypt plane crash: Debris site more than 13km long

Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Credit: RTV

The Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister has told a press conference debris from a passenger plane that crashed in Sinai last week stretches over a wide area more than 13km in length.

He said this was "consistent with an in-flight break-up" but noted that some parts of the wreckage were still missing.

Speaking during a live press conference he also said there was not yet enough evidence to identify what had caused the crash but information taken from flight recorders showed the plane lost contact with the ground just 23 minutes and 14 seconds after takeoff.

Egypt foreign minister: Intelligence has not been shared

File photo of Mr Shoukry Credit: Reuters

Intelligence has not been shared with Cairo about the crash of a Russian passenger plane last week, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.

He added that foreign countries did not heed Egypt's calls for greater coordination to fight terrorism.

The information we have heard about has not been shared with Egyptian security agencies in detail.

We were expecting that the technical information would be provided to us.

– Mr Shoukry

He added: "The spread of terrorism, which we have for a long time called on our partners to tackle more seriously, did not get through to many of the parties which are now exposed and which are currently working for the interests of their citizens to face this danger."

British holiday jet 'avoided missile' two months ago

A Thomson plane reportedly once had to avoid a missile when landing at Sharm el-Sheikh Credit: PA

A British aircraft carrying 189 passengers had a near-miss with a military missile when landing at Sharm el-Sheikh airport just over two months ago, it has emerged.

The incident has come to light as British tourists in the Egyptian resort begin to return home following the grounding of flights amid security fears.

Reports of the incident say the Thomson aircraft had to take evasive action but landed safely. Thomson reported the incident to the Department for Transport.

A UK government spokesperson told ITV News: "We investigated the reported incident at the time and concluded that it was not a targeted attack and was likely to be connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time."

A spokesman for Tui, which owns Thomson, added: "The view at the time was that it was probably a flare. As a result there was no cause for concern."

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