EgyptAir 804: Black Box data downloaded suggesting fire on board


Investigators have downloaded data from one of the black box flight recorders of the EgyptAir Flight MS804 and are going to analyze it, to discover the cause of jet crash, EgyptAir investigation committee said on Wednesday.

The Airbus A320 dove into the eastern Mediterranean Sea on the way from Paris to Cairo on May 19, killing every one of the 66 individuals on board. The reason for the accident stays obscure. "Preliminary data demonstrates that the whole flight is recorded on the FDR since its departure from Charles de Gaulle air terminal until the recording ceased at an altitude of 37,000 feet where the mishap happened," Egypt's Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee said in a statement.

Search team has retrieved both of the so-called black box flight recorders. Investigators are now preparing to analyze the data from the flight data recorder. "Recorded information is indicating consistency with SCARS messages of lavatory and avionics smoke, “the committee said, alluding to the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which routinely downloads maintenance and fault data to the airline operator. The plane had sent a number of warnings indicating that smoke has been spotted on the through SCARS.

Recuperates wreckage from the plane’s front segment hinted high temperature damage and soot, the committee said. Those were the first physical signs that shows fire may have broken out in the A320 airliner, notwithstanding maintenance messages stating smoke alarms in the avionics area and lavatory. The committee said these findings still need further analysis to find the source and explanation behind the marks, however.


The second black box, the cockpit voice recorder, is still being repaired in research centers belonging to France's BEA aircraft accident investigation agency, where the data chips from both recorders were sent after the gadgets were recovered from the Mediterranean earlier this month. The BEA is concerned in the investigation because France is both the flight's point of origin and home to Airbus, the plane's manufacturer. Also, fifteen of those killed were French.

A United States National Transport Safety Board investigator is also involved, following the plane's engines were built by a consortium led by the U.S. Company Pratt & Whitney. If intact, the cockpit recorder ought to reveal pilot conversations and any cockpit alarms, as well as other clues such as engine noise. A search vessel contracted by the Egyptian government from Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search is still searching the Mediterranean for human remains.

No explanation for the catastrophe has been ruled out, but present and former aviation officials increasingly believe the reason lies in the aircraft's technical systems, rather than sabotage. The Paris prosecutor's office opened a manslaughter investigation on Monday but said it was not looking into terrorism as a possible cause of the crash at this stage.

The accident is the third blow since October to Egypt's travel industry, which is still suffering from the 2011 uprising that finished Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. A Russian plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board in an attack claimed by Islamic State. In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked by a man wearing a fake suicide belt. No one was hurt.