EgyptAir probe: Fire is probable cause of the crash, smoke alarms were sounded onboard

egypt air{BNN Online/CAIRO, Egypt} – Days after investigators began examining the black box of the EgyptAir Flight MS804 that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in May this year, the probe has now revealed that the word ‘fire’ was heard on the cockpit voice recorder.

With the pressure to find out the cause of the crash increasing on authorities, the Egyptian-led investigative committee has also confirmed that smoke alarms had been sounded onboard. Further, they had pointed out earlier that the soot on wreckage too indicated a fire.

In an official statement, the committee said, “The committee had… started listening to the cockpit voice recordings before the occurrence of the accident; where the existence of ‘fire’ was mentioned. Still it is too early to determine the reason or the place where that fire started.”

The committee has said that the recordings have revealed that smoke signals indicated fires in the lavatory and avionics section of the plane.

After the flight recorders from the EgyptAir plane were recovered from the Mediterranean, it was said that the attempts to download information from the recorders of the plane failed as the black box was severely damaged in the crash. The electronic boards of the recorders were then sent the offices of the French aviation accident investigation bureau near Paris for repairs.

After the device was repaired and the salt was removed, it was sent back to Cairo and authorities had confirmed that the data on the voice recorder had been downloaded.

On May 19, Egypt’s national airline had said that EgyptAir Flight MS804 disappeared after entering Egyptian airspace and vanished over the Mediterranean Sea. Radar data had indicated that the aircraft had made violent moves after cruising normally in clear skies, plummeting from 38,000 feet (11,582 meters) to 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). It then disappeared when it was at an altitude of about 10,000 feet (3,048 meters).

The flight had 56 passengers and ten crew members on board and the airline, listing out the nationalities of the passengers had said that there were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis and one each from Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Canada, Great Britain, Belgium, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Soon after, Egyptian officials led an extensive underwater search in the Mediterranean that lasted for days, along with five other countries, Greece, Britain, France, Cyprus and the United States.

Officials had released images of the wreckage of the aircraft’s fuselage, including human remains and the personal belongings of passengers, along with some airline life jackets with EgyptAir prints and even seat belts that were found during the search operations.

In, July, after the search for the remains of passengers ended, EgyptAir said that it would pay advance compensation of $25,000 to families of the 66 people killed in the crash.

Experts have said that even though pilots are usually trained to deal with onboard fires, the sudden occurrence in darkness over water could have been difficult to handle.

Further, they have noted that the new details revealed in the probe suggest that pilots had to deal with smoke and serious electrical malfunctions.

Egyptian authorities have said that they will continue to investigate and gather more evidence from the data recorders, that usually save technical details of up to 25 hours of an aircraft’s operations.

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About Cholo Brooks 17126 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.