Conflicting reports continue to emerge about doomed EgyptAir flight

by WorldTribune Staff, May 22, 2016

Reports have emerged of threats to EgyptAir Flight 804 and the detection of smoke prior to the airliner disappearing, but there has yet to be a claim of responsibility by any terrorist organization.

According to a report on May 21, the words “we will bring this plane down” were written in Arabic on the plane’s underbelly.

image taken from video posted Saturday, May 21, 2016, on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman shows personal belongings and other wreckage of EgyptAir flight 804. /Egyptian Armed Forces via AP
Image from the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman shows personal belongings and other wreckage of EgyptAir flight 804. /Egyptian Armed Forces via AP

Cairo airport workers may have targeted the plane for its registration number, SU-GCC, which bears similarity to the surname of Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi.

Also on May 21, the French air accident investigation agency said smoke was detected in multiple places on the flight moments before it plummeted into the Mediterranean.

David Learmount, an aviation expert and editor of Flightglobal magazine, said readings from the airliner reported by the Aviation Herald suggested a quick-spreading fire.

“The question now is whether the fire that caused the smoke was the result of an electrical fault – for example a short-circuit caused by damaged wiring – or whether some form of explosive or incendiary device was used,” Learmount said.

In the absence of a claim of responsibility, it’s still unclear whether the crash was the result of a fault or an attack, he wrote.

“That answer is unlikely to be forthcoming soon.”

Egyptian aviation expert Hossam Elhamy Shaker said the detection of smoke does not solve the mystery of the crash. “It just leads us into an area where smoke is a major contributor to the incident, either by destroying the aircraft’s equipment or suffocating the pilots,” he told the Associated Press.

EgyptAir upped its security measures since the incident, they said, screening workers for their political views and adding unarmed security guards to flights. Three such guards died on MS804.

The Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew and security officers disappeared on May 18 over the Mediterranean as it flew from Paris to Cairo. It was flying at 37,000 feet when it disappeared from the radar at 2:29 a.m.

International air and naval teams discovered debris of the plane on May 19 about 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Alexandria.

Meanwhile, leaked audio files recording conversations between the pilots and Swiss air traffic controllers revealed no problems in the hours leading up to the crash, Fox News reports on May 22, with the pilot conversing with Zurich before being handed off to controllers in Padua, Italy.

A U.S. intelligence source confirmed to CBS News the data recorders, commonly known as black boxes, have been approximately located by their pings and that recovery efforts were underway.

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