Cause of Catastrophic Airplane Crash Revealed: Pilot Smoking in Cockpit

The cause of the catastrophic crash of EgyptAir flight MS804 has been somewhat of a mystery since the May 19, 2016, disaster. There have been some questions surrounding the incident that had now been answered. An investigatory report was released last week which finally sheds light on the cause of the EgyptAir airplane crash.

All 66 people on the aircraft flying from Cairo to Paris were killed. The plane went down into the Mediterranean Sea, suddenly disappearing from flight tracking radar.

French investigators released documents that indicate two factors combined to cause the midair tragedy. The investigation has revealed that:

  • A pilot or copilot was smoking in the cockpit of the aircraft
  • A leak in a copilot’s oxygen mask occurred

The combination of the two factors resulted in a midair explosion that doomed EgyptAir flight MS804.

For reasons not yet specifically spelled out, prior to the accident one of the copilot’s oxygen masks had been put on emergency mode. This resulted in the oxygen flow into the cabin from the mask, which was not being worn at the time. The general thought is that the mask was inadvertently or accidentally switched to emergency mode at the same time one of the cockpit crew members was smoking a cigarette.

Directly after the 2016 airplane accident, U.S. intel officials with access to some basic information about the crash concluded:

  • Wreckage from the crash indicated that the aircraft demonstrated damage as the result of high temperatures
  • There were indications of fire onboard the doomed airplane

The flight data recorder or black box had picked up indications of smoke in the aircraft before the crash. A previous report by Egyptian authorities included information about the prospect of smoke within the aircraft. The French report released last week pinpointed the source of the smoke as a member of the flight crew smoking a cigarette in the cockpit.

Facts surrounding the actual cause of the airplane accident was muddled by early statements from Egyptian Aviation Minister. That official initially stated that a terrorist attack of some sort was the more likely cause of the crash. Ultimately, officials from Egypt, France, and the United States ruled out the possibility of a terrorist attack on the aircraft.

40 Egyptians and 15 French citizens were on the aircraft at the time of the fatal crash. French authorities have been considering the possibility to brining manslaughter charges in regard to the loss of life associated with the airplane accident.

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