French air accident investigators say that a rapidly spreading fire probably caused the crash of an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo in 2016, casting doubt on Egyptian authorities' claims that traces of explosives were found.
The Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo on May 19, 2016 when it crashed into the southeastern Mediterranean, killing 66 people, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French citizens.
It noted the flight recorders stopped operating while the aircraft was at cruise altitude of 37,000 ft, the aircraft's reporting system sent a message indicating smoke in the toilets and avionics bay and the flight data recorder confirms the message.
"Reports on news sites suggesting that the cause of the crash was a fire inside the cockpit have no basis", the statementsaid, in an apparent reference to the BEA statement.
French investigators had always leaned towards a mechanical fault as the cause of the crash, saying they suspected a mobile phone or tablet on the aircraft had caught fire.
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Egyptian investigators have yet to publish the final report on the 2016 crash.
The Egyptian Public prosecution said in a statement sent to journalists it was still conducting its investigation into the crash "in full cooperation with the French investigation side".
"This took place at the end of May 2018". The investigation was then transferred to the country's judicial authorities who told the BEA that the crash was the result of a "malicious act" but have not yet produced a final report.
"The BEA's Egyptian counterpart did not publish the final report which would have allowed the BEA to set out its differences of opinion as authorized by the worldwide provisions".
The BEA urged Egyptian prosecutors to investigate the possibility it was an accidental fire, to prevent such accidents in the future.
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