EgyptAir: ‘Smoke detected’ inside cabin before crash

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
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
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 25,000ft
(7,620m) 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.
The debris was discovered about 290km (180 miles) north of
Alexandria, the Egyptian military said.
European Space Agency satellites spotted an oil slick in the
area where the flight had vanished – but the organisation
said there was no guarantee it was from the plane.
The search is now focused on finding the plane’s flight
recorders, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has expressed his
“utmost sadness and regret” at the crash.
Who were the victims?
The passenger who almost missed the flight
The internet fakes and rumours
Crash fuels fears and theories
EgyptAir’s troubled recent history
The focus of the investigation
Egypt has said the plane was more likely to have been
brought down by a terrorist act than a technical fault.
However, there has been “absolutely no indication” so far as
to why the plane came down, French Foreign Minister Jean-
Marc Ayrault said on Friday.
Three investigators from the French air accident
investigation bureau, along with a technical adviser from
Airbus, have joined the Egyptian inquiry.
The BBC has learned the plane that disappeared was forced
to make an emergency landing in 2013 after the pilot
noticed the engine overheating, but an official report said
the defect had been repaired.
In October, an Airbus A321 operated by Russia’s Metrojet
blew up over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with all 224 people on
board killed.
Sinai Province, a local affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist
group, said it had smuggled a bomb on board.
What do we know about what happened?
Who were the victims?
The names of some of those who were on board have
emerged, but most have not been identified publicly.
Those on board included:
Richard Osman, a 40-year-old geologist and father-of-two
from South Wales;
Canadian national Marwa Hamdy, a mother-of-three and an
executive with IBM originally from Saskatchewan, but who
had relocated to Cairo;
Pascal Hess, a photographer from Normandy, France, who
had lost his passport last week – only for it to be found in
the street, allowing him to catch the flight;
An unnamed couple in their 40s from Angers in north-west
France, as well as their two children;
Ahmed Helal, the Egyptian-born manager of a Procter and
Gamble plant in Amiens, northern France
Read more on some of the MS804 victims here
If anyone is concerned about relatives or friends following
the disappearance of the flight, they can call this free
number provided by EgyptAir: +202 259 89320