A heat flash over the Sinai prior to Russian plane crash was reportedly detected by US satellite.
A US infrared satellite apparently detected a heat flash in the same vicinity, indicating that an explosion may have happened on board, just before the passenger plane crashed on Saturday.
NBC News reports:
A senior defense official told NBC News late Monday that an American infrared satellite detected a heat flash at the same time and in the same vicinity over the Sinai where the Russian passenger plane crashed.
According to the official, U.S. intelligence analysts believe it could have been some kind of explosion on the aircraft itself, either a fuel tank or a bomb, but that there’s no indication that a surface-to-air missile brought the plane down.
That same infrared satellite would have been able to track the heat trail of a missile from the ground.
“The speculation that this plane was brought down by a missile is off the table,” the official said.
A second senior U.S. defense official also confirmed the surveillance satellite detected a “flash or explosion” in the air over the Sinai at the same time.
According to the official, “the plane disintegrated at a very high altitude,” when, as the infrared satellite indicates, “there was an explosion of some kind.”
A Pentagon official said that the heat flash may not be related to the crash since the Sinai Peninsula is a volatile place with regular military activity
The airline Kogalymavia, which uses the brand name Metrojet, have already said that neither human error nor technical malfunction could have caused the crash, and said that an “external force” must have caused the plane crash.
Russian authorities have said it is too early to confirm the claim.
A militant group affiliated with ISIS have also claim to have shot down the Russian plane. The claim was deemed unlikely by both Egyptian and Russian officials, as the terrorist group do not have surface-to-air missiles with a long enough range to attack high-flying planes.