Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1304, (21 - 27 July 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Terrorism ‘ruled out’

Investigators say a fire on board EgyptAir flight MS804 caused the plane to crash into the Mediterranean, Mohamed Abdel-Baky reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

Investigators say a fire broke out on EgyptAir flight MS804 moments before it crashed into the Mediterranean. Analysis of the plane’s flight data recorder has revealed smoke in the lavatory and avionics bay of the plane while wreckage from the jet’s front section showed signs of high temperature damage and soot.

“The committee investigating the crash has now studied the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and established a time correlation between the FDR and the Cabin Voice Recorder (CVR) data,” said a statement issued on Saturday.

 “The cockpit voice recordings immediately before the plane mention a fire on board.”

The committee did, however, advise caution, saying it was too early to conclusively determine why the plane crashed or where the fire broke out.

On the same day the committee issued a statement that the search vessel John Lethbridge arrived in Alexandria following the completion of its mission. The Ministry of Civil Aviation says the ship has recovered all available human remains from the site of the accident.

EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean on 16 May during a flight from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo killing all 66 people on board.

Two weeks ago the Arabic daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei published a story quoting official sources saying initial analysis of the FDR had revealed smoke in the lavatory and avionics compartment. Recovered debris from the plane’s front section also showed signs of fire damage, suggesting a blaze may have broken out on board.

In May the daily Al-Ahram published a copy of a document from the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) revealing the plane had transmitted “11 electronic messages” beginning at 21:09 GMT on 18 May. The first two messages indicate the engines were functioning properly. A third message, sent at 00:26 GMT on 19 May, four minutes before the plane vanished from radar, revealed a rise in the temperature of the cockpit’s right-side window. The plane then continued to send automated messages for three minutes before disappearing from radar screens.

On 5 July the investigation committee issued a statement saying it was too early to “jump to any conclusions about the crash” and asked the media to refrain from speculating about the cause of the accident.

A judicial source speaking on condition of anonymity says investigators have now ruled out the possibility that the plane was brought down by a terrorist act.

“The investigation is not yet over but all the evidence now points to a fire on board the plane,” said the source.

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