Wreckage, 'Black Box' Data Point to Fire Aboard EgyptAir Flight 804 – Wall Street Journal


Egyptian officials said Wednesday evidence found in the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed last month, and data retrieved from one of its “black boxes” show there may have been a fire on the plane.

The flight data recorder contains information consistent with fault warnings transmitted by the Airbus Group SE A320 that pointed to smoke in one of the lavatories and the avionics bay, where key electronics are housed, Egyptian crash investigators said.

Wreckage recovered from the plane that crashed on May 19, killing all 66 people aboard, also showed signs of high temperature damage and soot, they said.

The findings are the most concrete evidence yet that a small number of automated messages transmitted by the Airbus A320 pointing to problems on the plane weren’t erroneous. They also are likely intensify the investigation around why smoke or even a fire may have occurred on the plane.

Accident investigators still haven’t determined why the plane, flying from Paris to Cairo, crashed.

Investigators said they are still working to repair the cockpit voice recorder, which was taken to France. French air-accident investigators are aiding the Egyptian-led probe. Once the device is repaired, it will be returned to Cairo for analysis. The cockpit voice recorder could yield information about how pilots reacted to the apparent smoke messages.

The flight-data recorder stores technical details from the previous 25 hours of an aircraft’s operations. The cockpit voice recorder retains the last two hours of crew conversation.

Investigators also said information on the flight data recorder, which was returned to Egypt on Tuesday after being repaired in France, covers the flight until the recording suddenly stopped with the plane at an altitude of 37,000 feet.

Egyptian officials said they would try to determine the source of the apparent high-temperature damage.

Write to Robert Wall at [email protected]

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