Data that has been downloaded from the black box of EgyptAir Flight 804 indicates the presence of smoke before the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month, investigators say, though the cause of the crash remains a mystery.
“Recorded data is showing a consistency with ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) messages of lavatory smoke and avionics smoke,” Egypt’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee said in a statement on Wednesday.
The committee said analysis is still being carried out to identify the source and cause of the smoke, but added that some wreckage that has been recovered from the Mediterranean Sea shows signs of “high temperature damage and soot” in the aircraft’s front section.
The black box data confirms information that was received in automatic messages from the aircraft. That information showed that equipment on board the plane had detected smoke in the avionics bay and a lavatory near the cockpit in the minutes before the crash.
The data could point to an electrical fire and failure as a possible cause of the crash, though further investigation is required. French investigators are now working to retrieve the recording from the flight’s cockpit voice recorder, which could provide additional information about the accident.
“Decoding and validation of more than 1,200 parameters is in progress in order to commence the next phase of reading and analyzing the data,” the committee said. “Preliminary information shows that the entire flight is recorded on the [Flight Data Recorder] since its take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport until the recording stopped at an altitude of 37,000 feet, where the accident occurred.”
EgyptAir Flight MS804 was flying on a route from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo International Airport when it crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on the morning of May 19, killing all 56 passengers and 10 crew members. Though the crash initially sparked fears of terrorism, no terror group has claimed responsibility.
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