What we know about EgyptAir MS804’s disappearance over the sea

Published May 21st, 2016 - 08:33 GMT
An EgyptAir plane, but not the same one that disappeared over the Mediterranean Thursday morning. (credit: AFP)
An EgyptAir plane, but not the same one that disappeared over the Mediterranean Thursday morning. (credit: AFP)

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar early Thursday morning. The cause of the disappearance is still unclear, but here’s what we know so far.  


1. Smoke alarms went off around the time of the crash

The French media on Saturday reported that smoke was detected in one of the plane’s toilets, which was located behind the cockpit. Smoke was also detected in the airplane’s electronics, according to data from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). 

The smoke alarms were sounded about three minutes before the plane began its rapid descent, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday. 

The presence of smoke on board the aircraft suggests that a fire could have been the reason for the crash, not a bomb. 

David Soucie, CNN aviation analyst, said it was significant that the smoke alarms were sent over a period of one to two minutes.

“This is not the indication you would have had [if it was a bomb], because a bomb that would do that would be instantaneous, and these reports would not have gone over two minutes like they do,” he told Daily Mail. 


2. No terror group has claimed responsibility for attacking the plane

Over two days after the plane went down, no terror group has yet boasted of having caused it to plummet into the sea.

This may suggest that the plane was not attacked by militants, since downing an airplane is a significant propaganda victory about which most extremist groups would not wait to gloat over. 

When a plane flying from Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt to Russia was bombed in October, killing everyone on board, a Daesh-affiliate in the Sinai peninsula claimed responsibility the same day as the alleged attack. 


3. The plane’s “black box” recorder has still not been located 

Although seats, suitcases and even a body part from the plane have been found in the ocean, the aircraft’s “black box” still has not been found.

The black box records vital information about the plane’s movements and the actions of the pilots and will be a valuable source of information in determining why the plane went down. 


-Hunter Stuart

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