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Kremlin: Nothing can be ruled out in Sinai crash

There are not yet any grounds to rule out any theory for the crash of a Russian airliner in Egypt on Saturday, the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, replying to a question about whether a terrorist attack could be to blame.

The Russian airline whose jet crashed in Egypt killing everyone on board said on Monday the crash could not have been caused by a technical fault or human error.

The crash, in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, could only have been the result of some other "technical or physical action" which caused it to break up in the air and plummet to the ground, said Alexander Smirnov, deputy general director of the airline, Kogalymavia.

He did not specify what that action might have been, saying it was up to the official investigation to determine.

"The plane was in excellent condition," Smirnov told a news conference in Moscow. "We rule out a technical fault and any mistake by the crew," he said.

He said there had been no emergency call from the pilots to services on the ground during the flight, which took off from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and was bound for the Russian city of St Petersburg.

Kogalymavia's deputy general director for engineering, Andrei Averyanov, said a 2001 incident when the plane's tail section struck the tarmac on landing was fully repaired and could not have been a factor in the crash.

He said the aircraft's engines had undergone routine inspection in Moscow on October 26 which found no problems and he said in the five flights before the crash, the crew recorded no technical problems in the aircraft's log book.

Oksana Golovina, a representative of the holding company that controls Kogalymavia, told the news conference the airline had experienced no financial problems which could have influenced flight safety.

Meanwhile on Monday, Reuters also reported that the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt on Saturday was not struck from the outside and the pilot did not make a distress call before it disappeared from radar, citing a source in the committee analyzing the black box recorders.

The source declined to give more details but based his comments on the preliminary examination of the black boxes recovered from the flight. A civil aviation ministry source said earlier that the analysis of the flight recorders was ongoing.