Egyptian aviation authorities will take the lead in the investigation of the Metrojet Airbus A321 crash, which occurred Oct. 31 in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula shortly after takeoff from Sham el-Sheikh airport. The A321 was operating as flight 9268 to St. Petersburg when it crashed, killing all 217 passengers and seven crew members.

Search teams recovered the flight data and cockpit voice recorders Nov. 2.

“An investigation committee has been formed to take charge of the investigation of this accident,” Minister of Civil Aviation of Egypt Hossam Kamal said in a statement. “The committee has commenced its tasks by inspecting the crash site since the first day of the accident and they expect to finish the field inspection by the end of day today and they will start working on the data of the black boxes. The investigation committee has all the tools and experts to deal with the investigation and issue the final report which will take some time to finish,” Kamal added.

Russia’s Emergency Control Ministry (EMERCOM) started the third stage of search operations Nov. 3. According to EMERCOM, the research area was enlarged to 30 sq km, but could be hampered by the large number of canyons nearly 30 meters deep.

Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said its representatives are providing all necessary assistance in communication with French and Irish aviation authorities.

France has joined in the investigation because it is where Airbus manufacturer is located; the aircraft was registered in Ireland.

Russia’s Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov also said aviation officials from Ukraine and Belarus could become part of the team as citizens of these countries were among the 224 people killed in the crash.

According to Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Egyptian authorities can only provide any official information about the investigation, while “IAC will make every effort to inform the public about the investigation within the international law framework.”