Flight MS804, connecting Paris to Cairo, crashed in the Mediterranean between Crete and the north coast of Egypt on May 19, 2016 after suddenly disappearing from radar screens. The 66 people on board, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French, perished.
A month later, the black boxes were found.
While Cairo very quickly presented the evidence of an attack, Paris favored the thesis of a technical incident from the outset.
According to various expert reports submitted to the French judicial authority since the crash and of which AFP was aware, a fire broke out on board the cockpit, hastily abandoned by the crew who appeared unable to locate a fire and therefore to use fire extinguisher, which caused the crash a few minutes later.
“Oxygen leakage from the co-pilot’s quick-release mask is considered a key factor in the cause of the fire,” the five experts conclude in their latest 134-page report from March, published by Corriere della Sera.
In an earlier report from June 2021, experts had ruled out “a spontaneous outbreak of fire if the oxygen leak alone was present”.
They listed three possible triggers “all of human origin”: “a static-charged blanket that prompts the pilot to sleep”, “fatty substances that are part of the meal served to the pilot, and finally a high probability of a lit cigarette or a lit one.” cigarette butts in the ashtray” while the crew regularly smoked in the cockpit.
The latest report reiterates that it is not possible to “determine with certainty the exact cause of the fire (…) (cigarette, grease, static electricity sparks)”.
The experts also found “unprofessional behavior” on the part of the crew: music, coming and going in the cockpit several times, “lack of attention from the crew during flight monitoring” etc.
“There was a lack of maintenance, a series of negligence and serious irregularities,” two representatives of the Association of Families of Egyptair MS 804 Crash Victims denounced to AFP, calling for the airline to be charged.