Russia's top aviation official says the Russian passenger plane that crashed in Egypt had broken up at high altitude.
Alexander Fridlyand, an expert who leads a Moscow-based aviation research center, says in televised remarks Sunday that a quick plunge from high altitude may indicate that a plane was hit by a bomb explosion in its luggage compartment.
He says another possibility could be a malfunction in the plane's power system, which could have triggered a fire on board or the shutdown of both of the plane's engines.
The head of Russia's federal aviation agency, in Egypt to inspect the crash site, says the large area over which fragments of the plane were scattered indicated that it disintegrated while flying high.
The Metrojet A321-200 crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday morning 23 minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh en route to St. Petersburg. All 224 people on board were killed, the vast majority of them Russians.
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