Black box confirms smoke on board EgyptAir flight

A black box recording from crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 confirms smoke on board, Egyptian investigators have said.

Data from the flight data recorder has been downloaded and will be analysed, the investigation committee said yesterday.

The Airbus A320 plunged into the eastern Mediterranean Sea en route from Paris to Cairo on May 19, killing all 66 people on board. The cause remains unknown and no distress call was made prior to the crash.

Automated electronic messages sent by the plane had shown that smoke detectors went off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane disappeared. The recorded data are consistent with those messages, said investigators.

The voice and flight data recorders, known as black boxes, were recovered from a depth of about 3,000m (9,800ft) in the Mediterranean.

The second black box, the cockpit recorder, is still being repaired in Paris.

“Preliminary information shows that the entire flight is recorded on the FDR since its takeoff from Charles de Gaulle airport until the recording stopped at an altitude of 37,000ft where the accident occurred,” Egypt’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee said in a statement.

“Recorded data is showing consistency with ACARS messages of lavatory and avionics smoke,” the committee said, referring to the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which routinely downloads maintenance and fault data to the airline operator.

The plane had sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board through ACARS.

Recovered wreckage from the jet’s front section showed signs of high temperature damage and soot, said the committee.

The cockpit voice recorder is still being repaired in France, where the data chips from both recorders were sent after the devices were retrieved from the Mediterranean earlier this month.


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