Fire likely cause of 2016 Air crash: French investigation

EgyptAir flight MS804: French investigators says fire likely cause

Egypt refuted media reports that a 2016 crash of a Paris-Cairo EgyptAir flight that killed all passengers on board was likely caused by a cockpit fire, stressing that it was still carrying out investigations over the crash, a statement by the general prosecution said.

The statement, by France's BEA air accident investigation agency, contradicts an earlier assessment by Egyptian authorities who cited the discovery of trace elements of explosives on human remains, suggesting it was a malicious act.

Investigations into the crash were still ongoing, it 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 Egyptian public prosecutor's office, for its part, said it was in "total cooperation with the French investigators".

It noted the flight recorders stopped operating while the aircraft was at cruise altitude of 37,000 ft, the aircraft's reporting system sent a message indicating smoke in the toilets and avionics bay and the flight data recorder confirms the message.

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The cockpit recorder also "captured the conversation in the cockpit about a fire".

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.

The case was handed to judicial authorities after the Egyptian assessment of the cause was submitted in December 2016.

France and Egypt have in the past disagreed over how crash investigations are handled.

The French investigator said it stood ready to continue their collaboration with its Egyptian counterpart "should the latter restart the safety investigation into this accident".

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