French report: Cockpit fire likely caused 2016 EgyptAir crash

July 7 (UPI) — A cockpit fire likely caused the EgyptAir Flight MS804 crash with no mayday call that killed 66 people two years ago, officials said in a new report.

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.

Officials recovered flight recorders that were analyzed two months after the crash because advanced repair 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 pilot did not issue a mayday distress call at the time and no one has claimed responsibility for bringing down the plane.

BEA found the flight recorders stopped operating while the aircraft was cruising at an altitude of
37,000 feet. The crew also mentioned in a cockpit voice recorder the existence of a fire on board.

“The most likely hypothesis is that a fire broke out in the cockpit while the aeroplane was flying at its cruise altitude and that the fire spread rapidly resulting in the loss of control,” a BEA news release said.

The new report’s findings conflict with a December 2016 report from BEA’s Egyptian counterpart that discovered traces of explosive on human remains, suggesting a malicious act. Upon its determination the act was malicious, Egyptian officials handed the investigation over to judicial authorities.

Egyptian officials did not publish a final report, which would have allowed BEA to better understand the differences in their conclusions, the French agency said.

“The BEA considers that it is necessary to have this final report in order to have the possibility of understanding the cause of the accident and to provide the aviation community with the safety lessons which could prevent future accidents,” BEA said.

The agency added it is ready to collaborate with its Egyptian counterpart if it restarts its investigation.

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