by Scott Creighton
UPDATE: Airline says “external activity” causing massive structural failure of aircraft is responsible for crash.
I’m not sure exactly what this implies, but I found a new image of the wreckage of Metrojet Flight 9268 that’s a little troubling.
This photo found over at Tass news agency shows investigators examining a piece of the wreckage which appears to show some major charring on the exterior of the fuselage near an emergency escape hatch. (click on images for larger view)
You can barely make out the word “escape” on the hatch and the paint has been burned and peeled off. You can also tell from the color of the metal, the darker area is darker because it’s been burned.
The curvature of the wreckage as well as the lack of any kind of handle for the hatch itself indicates this charring pattern is on the exterior of the plane.
I also found a website that indicates there is an emergency escape hatch located inside the cock-pit of the A321. There was a difference of opinion regarding where it was located in the cockpit on that site, but they all agreed there was one.
From another website, I found this image shows a pilot utilizing the escape hatch in another plane (SK A340) to clean off the windshield with some water.
So I don’t really know where this hatch is located on the plane. It seems to match the relative size and shape of the one in the A340, but that isn’t definitive.
If it is located near or in the cockpit, that would leave us wondering what kind of explosion or “heat signature” would be centered on or in the cockpit, since there is no luggage or fuel stored in the front of the plane.
I’ll continue to look into this and see what I can come up with regarding the location of an emergency escape hatch on this type of aircraft. Obviously, the charring could have been the result of burning that occurred after the crash. But it could also be a clue as to what brought the plane down in the first place. The location of that emergency hatch is an important part of the puzzle that I have yet to determine.
It is possible of course that Tass released this image of this investigator on purpose. Notice the attention those troops are paying to that investigator.
On another note, the Russians have cryptically announced they have recovered something “foreign” to the aircraft and taken it for further inspection.
Experts working at the scene of the Saturday Sinai crash have found elements that are not components of the crashed A321 airliner, informed sources in Cairo have told TASS.
“They have been sent for an expertise,” one of the sources said. “It could be equipment transported by passengers, for example diving equipment,” another source said, adding that specialists were working on identification. TASS has no official confirmation of this information at the moment. Tass
Some claim it could be simply a piece of something the passengers had in their checked baggage like diving equipment. I seriously doubt the investigators would have taken a piece of diving equipment from the scene and released a statement about it.
Also of note: the Interstate Aviation Committee has refused to either confirm or deny the recent reports about a heat signature being recorded by US sources.