(JNS.org) After the Airbus A321 plane carrying Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board, one of the victims was revealed as an employee of Hillel International, the Jewish campus umbrella organization. Anna Tishinskaya, 27, was a former program director of St. Petersburg Hillel.
"On behalf of everyone at Hillel, I extend my condolences to Anna's family and our colleagues at St. Petersburg Hillel," said Hillel International President and CEO Eric Fingerhut in a statement. "Anna represented the best of what Hillel hopes to achieve—rising from an engaged student to a Hillel professional and then becoming a leader within her community. Her loss will be felt by our Hillel family and the entire Jewish people."
“Anna was a true joy to be around. Her creative energy was boundless—she was a talented artist, singer and photographer who strove to make the Jewish community an exciting place for herself and others,” said Yasha Moz, director of global relations in the Office of the President at Hillel International, who had worked with Tishinskaya.
Meanwhile, despite reports that the airplane’s pilots had complained about technical problems with the aircraft before the flight that led to the crash, Metrojet has indicated that the airplane may have been hit by external force since it was unlikely that it spontaneously broke apart in the air.
"There is no combination of system failures that could have broken the plane apart in the air. The plane was in excellent condition. We rule out a technical fault and any mistake by the crew," Aleksander Smirnov, who supervises the company’s fleet, said on the RT news network.
Earlier on Sunday, Russian authorities dismissed claims by the Islamic State terror group that it brought down the airplane, which crashed in an area of the Sinai known for heavy activity by terrorist groups.
“The key task is to investigate in detail what caused the tragedy,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in a statement broadcast by Rossiya-24 state television.