On the 19th of May EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea en route from Paris to Cairo, killing all 59 passengers and ten crew members.
Initially there was heightened suspicion that the service had been a victim of terror-related activity, particularly as the airline was that at the centre of a faux ‘hijacking’ in March when a passenger aboard a flight from Alexandria to Cairo forced the flight to land in Lanarca.
Despite the early claims that the flight had been downed as a result of foul play, it has become increasingly likely that the problem was caused by a technical failure with reports suggesting that the airliner had transmitted smoke alerts.
The Airbus 320 was making its fifth journey of the day when it crashed, having previously flown return journeys to both Tunis and Asmara, Eritrea. A member of the Egyptian Civil aviation agency, speaking to Sky News Arabia, remarked that the airliner was just inside of Egyptian airspace when it came down, having just exited the Greek air traffic control’s jurisdiction.To compound the reports of smoke alerts, tit has been evidenced that the carrier was forced to return to the ground three times immediately following take-off within the twenty-four hour period prior to the incident.
However on each occasion the carrier had been given the all clear to continue following safety inspections. In a response, the chairman of EgyptAir, Safwat Mussalam rejected these claims, stating that MS804 had not experienced any technical issues before its departures and reiterating his trust in the pilot and the aircraft.
The tendency of the investigating Egyptian authorities to favour terrorism in their conclusion is understandable considering the destruction of MetroJet flight 9268 in October 2015. When flying between Sharm el-Sheikh and St. Petersburg, a bomb exploded, killing all 224 people on board. ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for the incident.
But in this case, it appears that the answer to the question of ‘why did MS804 crash’ may be that of technical failure rather than deliberate actions of a passenger or someone on the ground, however, thorough investigation will be needed to disprove intense speculation.