Report: Doomed EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire
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Report: Doomed EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire

NYT quotes Egyptian officials as saying it is unclear if blaze was triggered by mechanical malfunction or criminal act

An Egyptian woman holds a poster and her national flag as she takes part in a march in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on May 26, 2016, for the 66 victims of the EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
An Egyptian woman holds a poster and her national flag as she takes part in a march in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on May 26, 2016, for the 66 victims of the EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

NEW YORK — An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times reported Friday.

However it remains unclear whether the blaze was triggered by mechanical malfunction or a criminal act, Egyptian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Times.

Last Saturday an Egyptian-led investigative committee reported that the word “fire” could be heard on EgyptAir flight 804’s cockpit voice recorder before it crashed.

But the forensic and aviation officials in Cairo who spoke with the Times said that both the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, combined with the distribution and condition of recovered debris and human remains, had led them to their latest conclusion.

The Imam of Cairo's al Thawrah Mosque, Samir Abdel Bary, consoles Tarek Abu Laban, center, who lost four relatives in Thursday's EgyptAir plane crash, at a prayer gathering for the dead at al Thawrah Mosque, Friday, May 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
The Imam of Cairo’s al Thawrah Mosque, Samir Abdel Bary, consoles Tarek Abu Laban, center, who lost four relatives in the EgyptAir plane crash, at a prayer gathering for the dead at al Thawrah Mosque, Friday, May 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

EgyptAir flight 804 was carrying 40 Egyptians, 15 French people, two Iraqis, two Canadians and one passenger each from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean.

Debris of the A321 Russian airliner a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, on November 1, 2015. (AFP/KHALED DESOUKI)
Debris of the A321 Russian airliner a day after the plane crashed in Wadi al-Zolomat, a mountainous area in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, on November 1, 2015. (AFP/KHALED DESOUKI)

The crash followed the bombing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula last October, killing all 224 passengers and crew.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for that attack, but there has been no such claim linked to the EgyptAir crash.

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