The 2016 EgyptAir plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea, which killed 66 people, was due to a fire in the cockpit, according to the conclusions of French experts revealed by Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Wednesday.
Flight MS804, connecting Paris to Cairo, crashed in the Mediterranean between Crete and the north coast of Egypt on May 19, 2016 after suddenly disappearing from radar screens. The 66 people on board, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French, perished.
While Cairo very quickly presented the evidence of an attack, Paris favored the thesis of a technical incident from the outset.
According to the 134-page document consulted by Il Corriere della Sera and sent to the Paris Court of Appeal in March, a fire on board was caused by the confluence of two factors: a leak in the co-pilot’s oxygen mask and the burn a by the pilot or Copilot smoked cigarette.
According to the Italian newspaper, the black box audio recordings support this hypothesis. In particular, a few minutes before the accident, the assessors isolated two “rustling” sounds from the microphone built into the copilot’s mask, which presumably indicate a strong airflow since the mask was set to “emergency” mode.
The fire itself was started by “a spark or flame” likely caused by a cigarette.
In June 2018, two experts requested by the seized coroners in Paris, three days before the box containing the co-pilot’s oxygen mask was smashed, for unknown reasons, pointed out the replacement. “The replacement of this equipment requires a very careful review (…) since oxygen leaks are particularly dangerous,” they had stressed.
And in a report published in July 2018, France’s Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Bureau (BEA) claimed its “preferred hypothesis” was “that a fire broke out in the cockpit (…), a fire that developed rapidly and resulted in the loss.” of control of the aircraft”.
The document, revealed by Il Corriere della Sera in support of the records, also reveals that the two pilots said they were “tired from this night flight and the lack of sleep”. However, the information available to the legal experts indicates that “the rest periods were respected”.