EgyptAir flight MS804: French investigators says fire likely cause

French investigators have said that the crash of an Egypt Air Paris-Cairo flight in May 2016 may have been caused by a cockpit fire. Amr Abdallah Dalsh  Reuters

A Paris-Cairo EgyptAir flight crash that killed everyone on board in May 2016 was likely to have been caused by a cockpit fire, but Egyptian authorities have not appeared to follow up on calls for further probes, French investigators said.

The EgyptAir Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on May 19, 2016, killing all 66 people on board.

The findings contradict Egypt's earlier statements that explosives had been found on victims' remains, suggesting the aircraft had been bombed.

The Egyptian public prosecutor's office, for its part, said it was in "total cooperation with the French investigators".

The black box, retrieved from the crash site by a specialist diving vessel, also confirmed that smoke alarms where triggered onboard, while recovered wreckage had indications of soot, the Egyptian Aviation Ministry stated in a statement in December 2016.

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In a press conference on the day of the crash, Egypt's civil aviation minister Sherif Fathy said a terrorist attack was most likely behind the crash.

"Reports on news sites suggesting that the cause of the crash was a fire inside the cockpit have no basis", the statement said, in an apparent reference to the BEA statement.

However, a French-led investigation tends to disagree with this conclusion.

Officials recovered flight recorders that were analyzed two months after the crash because advanced fix work was needed first, the new report from investigators with France's Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety, known as BEA said. Upon its determination the act was malicious, Egyptian officials handed the investigation over to judicial authorities.

It noted that Egyptian investigators had not published their final report, adding that the BEA was ready to resume work with Egyptian authorities if they were to resume work on the probe.

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