Crews in search for clues to EgyptAir crash
Smoke seen on board, debris found
Smoke was detected in multiple places on EgyptAir flight 804 moments before it plummeted into the Mediterranean, but the cause of the crash that killed all 66 on board remains unclear, the French air accident investigation agency has said.
Agency spokesman Sebastien Barthe told The Associated Press in Paris yesterday that the plane’s automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before the plane disappeared from radar while flying over the east Mediterranean early on Thursday morning.
The messages, he explained, “generally mean the start of a fire,” but he added: “We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture.”
Looking for clues as to whether terrorists may have brought down the Airbus A320, investigators have been pouring over the passenger list and questioned ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, from which the plane took off. The aircraft had been cruising normally in clear skies on a nighttime flight to Cairo when it suddenly lurched left, then right, spun all the way around and plummeted 11,582 metres into the sea, never issuing a distress signal.
Search crews are scouring for further wreckage of the aircraft. Experts said answers will come only with an examination of the wreckage and the plane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders, commonly known as black boxes.
Planes and vessels from Egypt and five other countries - Greece, Britain, France, the United States and Cyprus - continued searching a wide area of the eastern Mediterranean yesterday, a day after the Egyptian military found debris from the pas- senger jet in the sea 290km north of the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.
On Saturday, the Egyptian military released photographs of the debris from EgyptAir flight 804.
Egyptian authorities said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equip- ment failure, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit. But so far no hard evidence has emerged.
No militant group has claimed to have brought down the aircraft. Three European security officials said on Friday that the passenger manifest for flight 804 contained no names on terrorism watch lists.
We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is conjecture – French air accident investigation agency spokesman Sebastien Barthe
DEBRIS: Parts of the wreckage of EgyptAir flight 804 found by search crews