Egypt denies French conclusion that fire likely caused 2016 plane crash
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Egypt denies French conclusion that fire likely caused 2016 plane crash

Top prosecutor claims published report is baseless, says Egyptian investigation found traces of explosives on passengers of EgyptAir flight

Illustrative. EgyptAir Airbus A320 with the registration SU-GCC taking off from Vienna International Airport, Austria, on August 21, 2015. (AP/Thomas Ranner, File)
Illustrative. EgyptAir Airbus A320 with the registration SU-GCC taking off from Vienna International Airport, Austria, on August 21, 2015. (AP/Thomas Ranner, File)

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt on Monday denied a report by French aviation investigators saying that a cockpit fire likely caused the crash of an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo in 2016.

Egypt’s top prosecutor said in a statement Monday that the Egyptian investigation into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 is still underway. It said the French report is “baseless,” adding that “traces of explosives were found on the remains of passengers and parts of the plane.”

The French investigation agency BEA said Friday that the “most likely hypothesis” is that a fire broke out in the cockpit and “spread rapidly, resulting in loss of control.”

The Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo on May 19, 2016, when it crashed into the southeastern Mediterranean, killing 66 people, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French citizens.

French investigators had always leaned towards a mechanical fault as the cause of the crash, saying they suspected that a mobile phone or tablet had caught fire.

An official Egyptian investigation suggested the plane had been bombed, claiming traces of explosives had been found on the victims’ remains. But a source close to the French investigation previously said no such traces were found by the team.

The BEA said the crew could be heard discussing a fire on the cockpit voice recorder and that the plane’s automatic ACARS messaging system had flagged up smoke on board.

It said it was waiting for Egypt to publish its final report into the crash to understand how the two countries arrived at a different conclusion.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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