Leaked data has reportedly emerged indicating that EgyptAir Flight MS804 was on fire before it crashed, as smoke alarms were sounding for almost three minutes before it began its rapid descent.
|Gripped by grief: EgyptAir stewardesses console each other outside the Al Sedeq mosque where hundreds of mourners gathered to offer prayers for the crew of missing EgyptAir flight MS804|
The leaked data was filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a data link for sending messages between planes and ground facilities.
An ACARS screen grab published by air industry website The Aviation Herald shows time stamps that appear to match the time the aircraft lost contact with controllers.
The final two alerts from the plane indicate faults with the FCU – the flight control unit used by the pilot to input instructions into the flight computer – and the SEC 3 – the computer that controls the plane’s spoilers and elevator computers.
The Aviation Herald claimed to have received the data from three independent channels, which were unidentified, but there has as yet been no official confirmation.
The new information suggests that a fire on board the EgyptAir plane is a more likely reason for the crash than a bomb, although experts have not ruled out the use of an ‘incendiary device’.
While Egyptian officials continue saying that they suspect terrorism, no group has yet come forward to claim credit as theories as to the cause of the crash continue to circulate.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners gathered at the Al Sedeq mosque close to Cairo International Airport where the doom jet had been due to land to offer prayers for the 66 passengers and crew killed in the EgyptAir disaster.
The hour-long Friday prayers ended with pall bearers carrying a symbolic coffin for the missing bodies out of the sprawling complex.