The 2016 EgyptAir crash was most likely caused by a fire on board, French investigators said on Friday, casting doubt over Egyptian findings including traces of explosives.
The French civil aviation investigative body, BEA, said in a press statement that “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 of the aeroplane.”
They added the cockpit voice recorder revealed that the crew mentioned the existence of a fire on board and that the aircraft system detected smoke in the toilet and the avionics bay — the part of the plane that houses most of the wiring and electronic systems.
Sixty-six passengers and crew died when the Egyptair flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the south-eastern Mediterranean on May 19, 2016. They included 40 Egyptians, 15 French citizens and one Briton.
Egyptian investigators announced in December 2016 that they had found explosive traces on human remains. The investigation was then transferred to the country’s judicial authorities who told the BEA that the crash was the result of a “malicious act” but have not yet produced a final report.
The BEA has called for that report to be published in order to “set out its differences of opinion.”