In­quest held up over crash cause dis­pute

Carmarthen Journal - - Front Page - WALES NEWS SER­VICE

A FA­THER from Car­marthen was one of 66 killed when a fire broke out on a flight over the Mediter­ranean – but an in­quest in Mil­ford Haven heard French and Egyp­tian in­ves­ti­ga­tors can­not agree on the cause of the crash.

One the­ory be­ing in­ves­ti­gated is that the pilot’s iPhone or iPad over­heated when it was plugged into the wrong socket in the cock­pit.

New dad Richard Os­man, 40, was on board flight MS804 head­ing from Paris to Cairo when it dis­ap­peared from radar overnight and plunged into the sea in May 2016.

The ge­ol­o­gist, who used to live in Mum­bles, was on his way to work in Egypt just two weeks af­ter the birth of his sec­ond child from his French wife, Aure­lie.

But the full in­quest into how Mr Os­man died is be­ing held up over a dis­pute be­tween French and Egyp­tian in­ves­ti­ga­tors over whether the fire brought down the plane.

Car­marthen­shire coro­ner Mark Lay­ton said: “Sug­ges­tion that a fire brought the plane down in the end are dis­puted by French and Egyp­tian au­thor­i­ties.”

Ear­lier re­ports say Egyp­tian au­thor­i­ties have con­cluded their in­quiry and a file has been passed to the coun­try’s At­tor­ney Gen­eral in Cairo.

But a sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the French has stalled due to the Egyp­tians’ ap­par­ent re­fusal to hand over de­bris and raw data from the air- craft’s black box recorders.

Mr Lay­ton ear­lier said: “I prom­ise Mrs Os­man and other fam­ily mem­bers, ev­ery­thing I can do, I will to es­tab­lish how Mr Os­man came to die.

“I’m sure that with that air in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port we will be able to do that.”

He added: “The ob­vi­ous dif­fi­culty here is the Egyp­tian air­line is based in Egypt and is not un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of this coun­try.

“I asked when the re­port would be avail­able and whether they would be re­leas­ing an in­terim re­port. That hasn’t hap­pened in 12 months as is usu­ally the case.

“But it’s im­por­tant that we get there even­tu­ally to be able to pro­vide the fam­ily with an­swers.”

Egyp­tAir flight 804 went down in the Mediter­ranean while en route from Paris to Cairo in May 2016, killing 40 Egyp­tians, 15 French cit­i­zens, and one Bri­ton.

It was re­ported sev­eral of the vic­tims claim the crash was down to the co-pilot’s iPhone 6S or iPad mini over­heat­ing in the cock­pit and catch­ing fire.

The fam­i­lies claim an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has re­vealed the de­vice ig­nited and led to a big­ger fire in the cock­pit, which ul­ti­mately took the plane down.

The fam­i­lies are su­ing for dam­ages and both the air­line and Ap­ple are listed in the case. Mr Os­man went to Queen El­iz­a­beth Cam­bria school in Car­marthen.

The in­quest in Mil­ford Haven was ad­journed to a later date.

Pic­ture: Cen­tamin

Richard Os­man.

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