Data from one of the black boxes of the crashed EgyptAir plane indicated that smoke was detected aboard the aircraft while wreckage showed “signs of high temperature damage and soot”, an Egyptian probe committee trying to determine the cause of the tragedy has said.
Automated electronic messages sent by the plane had shown that smoke detectors went off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane disappeared, it said.
The committee said in a statement that the recorded data highlighted that smoke was detected from lavatory and avionics bay, which confirms earlier reports about smoke signs.
Additionally, wreckage from the Airbus A320’s front section showed “signs of high temperature damage and soot”, the country’s Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
“The cockpit voice recorder is still in France for repair,” it said.
The Egyptair flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean on May 19, killing all 66 people on board.
Egyptian officials have suspected terrorism, but no group has come forward to claim credit.
The recorded data was consistent with information from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS – which sends messages between planes and ground facilities, according to the ministry.
“Analysis will be carried out to try to identify the source and reason for those signs,” the statement said.
Evidence from the wreckage will enable investigators to build a forensic picture of what occurred. The black boxes offer the best clues to determining why the plane went down.
The black boxes were recovered by the crew of the John Lethbridge, a privately owned deep-sea survey and recovery vehicle contracted by Egypt’s government to aid in the search.
Crews are continuing to search for wreckage and the victims’ remains.
Egypt’s military also spotting wreckage, personal belongings including an uninflated life vest, a seat, a purse, shoes, carpet, a scarf, parts of chairs and cushions and a sling bag. The EgyptAir label appeared on one piece of wreckage.