Reports: Smoke detected in EgyptAir flight before crash

RSTV Bureau
CAIRO:  Relatives of passengers on a vanished EgyptAir flight grieve as they leave the in-flight service building where they were held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt, Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egyptian aviation officials say an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board has crashed. The officials say the search is now underway for the debris. AP/PTI

CAIRO: Relatives of passengers on a vanished EgyptAir flight grieve as they leave the in-flight service building where they were held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt, Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egyptian aviation officials say an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board has crashed. The officials say the search is now underway for the debris. AP/PTI

New details reveal that smoke alerts were triggered inside a cabin of the ill-fated EgyptAir jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea killing all 66 on board.

Reports say smoke alerts were just minutes before the crash. Post these new revelations, authorities have again hinted that all angles including terror are being probed.

“At this time… all theories are being examined and none is favoured,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told a news conference in Paris after meeting relatives of passengers who were aboard the doomed flight flying from Paris to Cairo.

Smoke was detected in the toilet and the aircraft’s electrics, just minutes before the signal was lost, according to data published on air industry website the Aviation Herald, which said it had received flight data filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) from three independent channels.

The Herald said the system showed that at 02:26 local time on Thursday (05:56 IST) smoke was detected in the toilet of the Airbus A320. Just a minute later – at 05:57 IST – there was an avionics smoke alert.

The last ACARS message was at 05:59 IST, the air industry website said, and the contact with the plane was lost four minutes later, which was 02:33 local time.

ACARS is used to routinely download flight data to the airline operating the aircraft.

On Friday, search parties found the plane’s debris which included passenger’s belongings and aircraft seats. Search for the black box is still on. The debris was discovered near Alexandria after the navy of several countries searched the area.

The plane was en route to Cairo from Paris when it “swerved and then plunged” into the Mediterranean. It was on its fifth journey for the day and was travelling at 37,000 feet when it disappeared from radar.

The plane was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members. The passengers included 15 French nationals among others.

The tragedy raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

(With inputs from agencies)