President Sirleaf Consoles Russia for the Loss of 224 Lives

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of condolence to the Government and People of the Russian Federation, following the unfortunate news of a metro jet Airbus crash over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board including 17 children.

In her message to His Excellency Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, President Sirleaf extended on behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, heartfelt condolences to the Government and People of the Russian Federation especially the bereaved families for the irreparable loss sustained.

“On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia and in my own name, I extend our deepest condolences to you personally, the People of Russia; particularly, the families of the deceased,” President Sirleaf expressed with deep sorrow.

President Johnson Sirleaf further prayed that as the Government and People of the Russian Federation go through this period of national mourning, the Almighty God will provide President Putin with the strength and courage, as he leads his people during this distressful period.

Meanwhile, according to CNN clues emerging so far about the final moments of Metrojet Flight 9268 don’t paint a clear picture of what happened to the doomed passenger jet.

Was a midair heat flash that a U.S. satellite detected over the Sinai Peninsula when the flight went down a sign of an explosion aboard the plane? And if that was the case, why haven’t investigators found signs of an explosive impact on the crash victims’ bodies, as Russian state media reports? Could the plane’s
wreckage show that a past repair went awry?

There are a wide range of theories on what made the passenger jet plunge to the ground, killing all 224 people on board, but Russian officials say it’s too soon to speculate on the cause.

Aviation experts agree, and officials have downplayed an apparent claim by Islamic militants that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.

Here’s a look at the evidence investigators are looking at:

Radar
Flight 9268 was on its way from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg early Saturday when it dropped off radar about 23 minutes into the flight, Egyptian officials say.

Air traffic controllers apparently didn’t receive any distress calls.

The website Flightradar24, which tracks aircraft around the world, said it had received data from the Russian plane suggesting sharp changes in altitude and a dramatic decrease in ground speed before the signal was lost.

A U.S. military satellite detected a midair heat flash from the Russian airliner before the plane crashed Saturday, a U.S. official told CNN.

Intelligence analysis has ruled out that the Russian commercial airplane was struck by a missile, but the new information suggests that there was a catastrophic in-flight event — including possibly a bomb, though experts are considering other explanations, according to U.S. officials.

Analysts say heat flashes could be tied to a range of possibilities, including a bomb blast, a malfunctioning engine exploding or a structural problem causing a fire on the plane.

Egyptian officials have said they are finishing fieldwork first, and then will go on to investigate the data in the black boxes. Experts started retrieving data from the recorders on Monday, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said.

Russia’s privately owned Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source in Cairo as saying the plane’s cockpit voice recorder had captured uncharacteristic sounds the moment before the flight disappeared.

It cited the source as saying that an “unexpected’ and “nonstandard (emergency)” occurred “instantly,” which was why the pilots failed to send an emergency or alarm signal.

A top Russian aviation official has said the plane broke apart in midair. Sounds in the black-box recording could help investigators determine what caused that to happen, said Peter Goelz, a CNN aviation analyst and former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

“You can tell whether it is a high-order explosion, or a more low-order event, like a decompression and a tearing apart of the aircraft,” he said.

The Egyptian committee investigating the Metrojet plane crash is expected to finish fieldwork on Tuesday evening, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said in a news statement Tuesday.

That’s a sign that investigators will soon be closer to figuring out what happened, said Alan Diehl, a former accident investigator for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force.

“This airplane went down in the desert … and that makes it a lot easier to locate the critical pieces. But that is very quick, if they can do that and get the forensic wreckage evidence into the labs, that will be good news,” he said.

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