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The fire that caused the crash of Egyptair in 2016 was caused by a cigarette in the cockpit


On May 19, 2016, Egyptair flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 66 passengers. According to the investigation by French experts provided to the Paris Court of Appeal last March, the origin of this crash was linked to a leak in the co-pilot’s oxygen mask and a lit cigarette in the cockpit.

While Egypt opted for the hypothesis of an attack, France favored the track of a technical problem. This final thesis was confirmed by the 134-page survey provided by French experts and relayed by Il Corriere Della Sera.

In this document, the latter demonstrated that the fire on board had been caused by the combustion of a cigarette smoked in the cockpit, as well as a leak from the co-pilot’s oxygen mask. The black box recordings confirmed this version, in particular two rustles coming from the pilot’s helmet, indicating a strong flow of air linked to the passage in “emergency” mode of the mask.

A track explored in 2018

In June 2018, two French experts called upon by the investigating judges in charge of the case had pointed out the replacement, three days before the crash, of the box containing the co-pilot’s oxygen mask for unknown reasons. “The replacement of this equipment requires very careful verification […] oxygen leaks being particularly dangerous”, explained the latter.

In a second report published in July 2018, the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Bureau (BEA) confirmed that its “preferred hypothesis” was “that a fire broke out in the cockpit” .

The captain of the Boeing 777 went around on arriving at Roissy, but more fear than harm for the passengers.

A total of 40 Egyptians and 15 French were killed in this tragedy.