Egyptair 2016 crash caused after pilot’s cigarette leads to fire: report

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The crash of Egyptair flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo in 2016 was caused by one of the pilots smoking a cigarette onboard, according to an Italian newspaper report.  

All 66 onboard the Airbus A320, registered SU-GCC, died when it crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian authorities have never published a final report into the crash.  

The Corriere della Sera on April 26, 2022, cited a report sent to a Paris court, which is investigating the crash with a view to bringing manslaughter charges. According to the report, the fire was started in the flight deck when one of the pilots lit a cigarette. The report finds that smoking was not forbidden by Egypt Air at the time.  

The reason the fire started on the accident flight is because one of the emergency oxygen masks was leaking oxygen, after a valve had been placed in the incorrect position when it was replaced three days earlier, the reports states. It was the combination of leaked oxygen and the cigarette that ignited the fire that led to the crew losing control of the aircraft.  

French air accident investigators from the BEA stated on July 6, 2018 that they considered “the most likely hypothesis is that a fire broke out in the cockpit while the aeroplane was flying at its cruise altitude and that the fire spread rapidly resulting in the loss of control of the aeroplane.”  

Egyptian air accident investigators have previously said they found traces of explosives, which led them to hand over the investigation to public prosecutors. 

The BEA at the time criticized Egyptian authorities for not releasing a final report and said they would have used the final report to set out differences of opinion with Egyptian investigators.  

“The BEA considers that it is necessary to have this final report in order to have the possibility of understanding the cause of the accident and to provide the aviation community with the safety lessons which could prevent future accidents.” 

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