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French report say plane in 2016 EgyptAir crash should never have taken off

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PARIS (Reuters) – The 2016 crash of a Paris-Cairo EgyptAir flight that killed all 66 people on board was a result of a lack of maintenance and the plane should never have taken off, according to an experts’ report commissioned by France’s justice ministry.

The French BEA air accident investigation agency has previously said the crash was probably caused by a cockpit fire, contradicting an earlier suggestion by Egyptian authorities that a bomb may have been the cause.

It also said that authorities in Egypt had apparently not followed up calls for further investigations.

Reuters obtained a copy of the report after Le Parisien newspaper initially published details of its findings, which confirm the BEA’s analysis of a major mechanical fault.

The two experts commissioned by French judges in charge of the dossier highlighted some twenty warnings pointing to recurring faults during the plane’s five flights before the crash.

These defects included problems with the air intake system on the engines that power the aircraft pressurisation system, and the triggering of the smoke detector in the toilet and of electrical circuit breakers.

However, the pilots did not record the defects found during the flights in question.

“The improper application of the procedures and instructions doesn’t allow EgyptAir to properly assess the technical condition of the aircraft at the time of departure from Charles-de-Gaulle,” the experts report said.

“The expertise shows that this aircraft should have been checked during the previous four flights and should not have left Cairo after the recurring defects, but it was not reported by successive crews,” they said.

The experts also expressed doubts about the skills of the Egyptian technician who gave the green light for take-off in Paris.

The BEA previously noted that Egyptian investigators had not published their final report, adding that it was ready to resume work with Egyptian authorities if they were to resume work on the probe. International regulations stipulate a report should come out within a year of a crash.

Twelve of those killed in the May 2016 crash were French nationals.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Peter Graff)

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