Sources “close to the probe” analyzing data from the black boxes retrieved from the Russian plane that crashed in Egypt and killed all 224 people on board, Agence-France Presse reported.
According to AFP, the source said the flight data and voice recorders showed the flight was going smoothly until the 24-minute mark, when both failed, which suggests “a very sudden explosive decompression.”
French aviation officials familiar with the investigation meanwhile said that the plane did not crash due to technical failures.
Hours after news of the crash began to circulate, ISIS affiliate Wilayat Sinai (Ansar Bait Al-Maqdis) claimed that it had downed the Russian passenger plane. However, Egyptian and Russian officials and security analysts were quick to dismiss the claims.
Following the militant group’s allegations, a flurry of speculation on the possibility of a bomb causing the plane crash dominated media reports. The panic increased as airlines began to impose restrictive rules on passengers departing from Egypt and some countries issued travel warnings to their citizens.
KLM’s decision follows a similar decision by the United Kingdom which resumed flights from Sharm El-Sheikh but only for passengers who would agree to travelling with just carry-on luggage.
Dozens of flights were due to carry British tourists back to the UK on Friday but only eight flights took off from the Sharm El-Sheikh because the airport was reportedly “not prepared” for the amount of luggage left behind.
Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium are among the countries that updated their travel warnings and urged their citizens against all but essential travel to the Sinai Peninsula. German airliner Lufthansa and its subsidiaries suspended all flights to Sharm El-Sheikh on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Friday to suspend Russian flights to Egypt, based on a recommendation from Russia’s Federal Security Service.
“As long as we haven’t established the causes of the incident, I consider it appropriate to suspend the flights of Russian aircraft to Egypt. This primarily applies to the tourist flow,” FSB Director Aleksandr Bortnikov said in a meeting of the Russian Anti-Terror Committee, reported RT.
The FSB Director suggested the “temporary” measure would last until the results of the crash are made clear, while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move does not mean Russia believes the plane was attacked.
Speaking at a press conference after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi addressed the British government’s suspension of all flights from Sharm El-Sheikh, saying, “We understood their concern because they are really interested in the safety and security of their nationals.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed AbouZeid said security at the Sharm El-Sheikh airport has been increased to “give confidence to the British government” but asserted these measures do not necessarily confirm the bomb theory.
Egypt’s Minister of Aviation Hossam Kamal will hold a press conference on Saturday at 5 pm at Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, according to a statement from the government’s press office.