Reports: French investigators suspect fire caused EgyptAir crash


French crash investigators probing the crash of an EgyptAir Airbus A320 over the Mediterranean Sea in May 2016 have reportedly found no trace of explosives on the bodies of the victims, according to accounts in the French media.

The A320, operating as MS804, disappeared over the Mediterranean about 0230 local time on May 19, 280 km (174 miles) from the Egyptian coast. It was near the end of a scheduled flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Cairo and carried 56 passengers, seven crew and three airline security personnel on board.

Greek air traffic controllers, who were unable to contact the aircraft for a handover to Egyptian controllers, said the aircraft disappeared at the boundary between Greek and Egyptian airspace. Radar tracking from Egyptian sites showed that the aircraft continued on course until 0237, when it turned left 90 degrees then right 360 degrees as its altitude dropped from 37,000 ft. to 15,000 ft. Radar coverage was lost as the aircraft continued descending down through 10,000 ft.

French air accident investigation agency BEA has been assisting Egyptian authorities on the A320 crash between Crete and the Egyptian coast; all 66 passengers and crew on board the flight, nearing the end of its flight from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to Cairo, died.

France was on a public holiday May 8 and nobody was available at BEA to comment on the reports; EgyptAir did not respond to inquiries. Egyptian authorities have previously said they believe a bomb caused the crash.

According to the new media reports, which cited an unnamed source close to the investigation, no evidence of explosive residues has been found on the remains of the 15 French nationals on board the flight.

France has for some time leaned toward the theory of a fire breaking out on board the aircraft. Initial evidence gleaned from messages sent by the A320’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which sends data on any faults or deviations from the norm to an airline’s home base, indicated the presence of smoke in both an avionics bay under the flight deck and a lavatory.

One theory being examined by investigators, according to the latest reports, is that a tablet computer may have burst into flames on, or near, the flight deck.


source: ATW


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