Thursday, 28 April 2022

Flight that crashed killing all on board, was caused by pilot’s cigarette

A passenger jet that crashed killing all onboard was brought down by the pilot having a cigarette in the cockpit, an investigation has found.

The pilot onboard EgyptAir flight MS804 lit a cigarette in the cockpit, causing oxygen leaking from an emergency mask to combust.

A total of 56 passengers and 10 crew died when the Airbus A320 which was travelling from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG) France to Cairo International Airport (CAI/HECA), Egypt on the 19th May 2016 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea south of the Greek island of Crete in mysterious circumstances.

The plane made violent swerves before falling into a “death spiral” over the Mediterranean.
Among the dead were 40 Egyptians, 12 French, 2 Iraqis, 1 Brit and 1 Canadian. Following a major search mission involving the US Navy, the plane’s black box was found in deep water close to Greece. At the time, Egyptian authorities claimed the plane was brought down in a terrorist attack, despite no group claiming responsibility.

It was claimed explosives were found on the bodies of plane crash victims, although this was later discredited. However, an official investigation has concluded that smoke from the pilot’s cigarette accidentally ignited oxygen leaking from an emergency mask.

Egyptian pilots would often smoke in the cockpit, and incredibly, the practice wasn’t banned at the time of the 2016 crash, according to a 134-page report produced by aviation experts.

The setting on the oxygen mask had been switched by a maintenance engineer from normal to emergency, the experts said. This caused the mask to emit oxygen, creating a highly volatile situation.
A hissing sound made by escaping oxygen was identified by investigators at around 2.25am on the morning of May 19, just minutes before the passenger jet crashed into the sea.

It isn’t known why the maintenance engineer had put the face mask into the emergency setting.
An experienced pilot said the plane’s captain Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair should have detected the faulty mask ahead of takeoff.

“When we go into the cabin, among the various checks we make before taking off is to check the flow of oxygen in the masks,” Italian pilot Daniele Veronelli told investigators.

“If the switch is in the normal position, the flow of oxygen is on request. If it is on the emergency setting, it will release oxygen at a greater pressure to blow away the smoke that could be in the cabin if there’s a fire on board.”

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Egypt Air
Code: MS/MSR
Aircraft: Airbus A320-232
Registration: SU-GCC
Serial Number: 2088
Engines: 2 IAE V2527-A5
First Flew: 25/07/2003

Story sourced from here (with additions)

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