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Midair Heat Flash Detected Before Russian Plane Crash

Metrojet Bus A321 crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday. The passenger jet was carrying 224 people before plunging to the ground, leaving no survivors. The plane was travelling from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, Russia.

The plane dropped off the radar 23 minutes into the flight while flying at 31,000 feet. Air traffic controllers say they didn’t receive any distress calls from the pilots prior to the crash. A top Russian aviation official said the plane broke apart midair.

The plane was held 217 passengers and seven crew members; 209 were Russian, four were Ukrainian, one was Belarusian, and three are of unknown nationality. There were at least 17 children on the flight. According to Russian media, the tragedy resulted in many orphans since many parents left their children with relatives to vacation in Sharm el-Sheikh

Although the cause of the crash is still being investigated, a midair heat flash— possibly an explosion of some sort— was detected by a U.S. satellite, though a missile strike has been ruled out.

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