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As Final Bodies Are Flown To Russia, Clues Emerge About Metrojet Plane Crash

A woman mourns at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a jetliner crash outside Pulkovo International Airport in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
Vasily Maximov
AFP/Getty Images
A woman mourns at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a jetliner crash outside Pulkovo International Airport in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

As some clues begin to emerge about what caused Metrojet Flight 9268 to break up in flight, the final victims' bodies arrived in Russia.

CNN reports the government released a complete list of the 224 people who were killed in the crash. CNN reports:

"At least 25 children are among the dead, including 10-month-old Darina Gromova, whose mother took a photo of her at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg waiting for their flight to Egypt. The child is standing, her hands pressed against the glass, looking out at the planes on the tarmac.

"The manifest shows many people with the same last name, revealing many families were aboard."

Meanwhile, investigators were still trying to piece together exactly what happened during the final moments of the Metrojet flight.

ABC News and NBC News are reporting that a U.S. satellite picked up a flash around the same time the plane was flying over the Sinai Peninsula. NBC reports:

"According to the official, U.S. intelligence analysts believe the flash could indicate 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 flash could also be unrelated to the aircraft, ABC reports.

On Morning Edition, NPR's David Schaper reports that some experts believe it could be months or even years before we know what caused the crash.

David reports:

"'Accident investigation is like putting a puzzle back together,' Anthony Brickhouse, an air safety investigator and a professor of aerospace at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, says.

"'But typically with a puzzle, you have all the pieces in the box. With an aircraft accident investigation, a lot of times, those pieces to the puzzle have been damaged, or they're actually missing and that really complicates your job.'

"Brickhouse says investigators will need to read the wreckage and look for certain tell-tale signs.

"'Typically, if there's a bomb on board the aircraft that explodes, the damage would be from the inside out, so you would have an opening up affect if the bomb were actually on the aircraft. Als o,the victims on board the aircraft would have certain signatures on their bodies.'"

As we reported, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it would not rule out the possibility that this was a terrorist attack.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said that no theories should be discounted.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.