Smoke detected in EgyptAir MS804 before crash

21 May 2016
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There were smoke alerts inside the cabin of the EgyptAir passenger plane before it crashed in the Mediterranean on Thursday, reports say.

Smoke was detected in the toilet and the aircraft’s electrics, just minutes before the signal was lost, according to data published on air industry website the Aviation Herald.

However, there has been no official confirmation of the data.

Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board.

The Aviation Herald said it had received flight data filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) from three independent channels.

It said the system showed that at 02:26 local time on Thursday (00:26 GMT) smoke was detected in the Airbus A320 toilet.

A minute later – at 00:27 GMT – there was an avionics smoke alert.

The last ACARS message was at 00:29 GMT, the air industry website said, and the contact with the plane was lost four minutes later at 02:33 local time.

ACARS is used to routinely download flight data to the airline operating the aircraft.

Philip Baum, the editor of Aviation Security International Magazine, told the BBC that technical failure could not be ruled out.

“There was smoke reported in the aircraft lavatory, then smoke in the avionics bay, and over a period of three minutes the aircraft’s systems shut down, so you know, that’s starting to indicate that it probably wasn’t a hijack, it probably wasn’t a struggle in the cockpit, it’s more likely a fire on board.

“Now whether that was a technical fire, a short circuit, or whether it was because a bomb went off on board, we don’t know,” he added.

Greece earlier said that radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 7,620 m before plunging into the sea.

Debris and body parts were found on Friday by teams searching for the wreckage of the Airbus320, Greek and Egyptian officials said.

Items including seats and luggage have also been retrieved by Egyptian search crews.

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