Audio recordings from one of the two black boxes retrieved from EgyptAir flight MS804 indicate that crew had sought to extinguish an inflight fire prior to its disappearance from radar screens, UK-based news agency Reuters reported Tuesday.
Sources from the Egyptian-led investigation committee told Reuters that analysis of the cockpit voice recorder revealed that the crew had desperately sought to put out the fire.
But according to state-run Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, the Egyptian investigation committee has dismissed these reports of fire-fighting as unofficial statements. Al-Ahram wrote that “investigations will take time to analyze the data” available.
“The investigation committee calls on the media to be mindful and accurate in their reporting regarding this incident, and to disregard any information that is not officially issued by the committee,” the paper added.
The Airbus A320-232 crashed into the eastern Mediterranean Sea on May 19, killing all those on board, and the cause of the crash is still unknown.
Previous analysis of the plane’s flight data recorder had indicated the presence of smoke within the plane, originating from a lavatory near the cockpit.
Citing investigators, Reuters also said that recovered wreckage, found on the Mediterranean seabed, revealed that its front section bore “signs of high temperature damage and soot.”
Earlier this week, Egyptian authorities announced that both of the plane’s black boxes had been repaired in France and returned to Cairo.
Evidence from the flight data recorder revealed that smoke alarms went off in the plane’s lavatory and in the area below the cockpit, suggesting that a fire broke out on board.
On the day of this deadly aviation disaster, these smoke alarms had been automatically registered with the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) shortly before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens and plunged into the sea.
However, the pilots of the plane apparently did not issue any distress calls or requests for assistance. The specific cause/s behind this aviation disaster are still being investigated.
It may take several weeks to analyze the data in the course of this investigation, reported Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation.
As of late June, French prosecutors have opened their own accident investigation into the aviation disaster, led by the office of the Paris district prosecutor. This is a probe into manslaughter, which generally implies that there was no criminal intent to down the airplane.
The Parisian prosecutor’s office told Reuters that it is not investigating the case as a terrorist act.
EgyptAir Flight MS804 was traveling from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo International Airport with 66 passengers and crew on board when it crashed, killing all those on board.
Most of those killed were Egyptians, along with 15 French nationals and passengers from Britain, Canada, Iraq, Algeria, Belgium, Chad, Sudan, Portugal and Saudi Arabia.