The word “fire” is heard on the cockpit voice recorder of EgyptAir Flight MS804 before the airplane crashed into the Mediterranean in May, an Egyptian-led investigative committee said on Saturday.
Investigators had earlier said the other black box retrieved from the crash site, the data recorder, confirmed that smoke alarms had sounded on board, while soot on wreckage indicates a fire.
“The committee had ... started listening to the cockpit voice recordings before the occurrence of the accident; where the existence of ‘fire’ was mentioned,” it said in a statement.
“Still, it is too early to determine the reason or the place where that fire started,” it said.
The data recorder points to smoke signals indicating fires in the lavatory and avionics section of the airplane, according to the committee.
The Airbus A320 was carrying 40 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, two Canadians and one passenger each from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
It had set off from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean.
Egyptian investigators have confirmed the aircraft made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before hitting the sea.
The latest committee statement said the search for the remains of passengers has ended.
The ship conducting the search “reached the port of Alexandria today after the end of its mission, which had been extended for the second time, after making sure of the recovery of all human remains at the site of the accident,” it said.
Both Egyptian and French judiciaries have opened investigations into the mysterious incident, without ruling out a terrorist attack.
EgyptAir last week said that advance compensation payments of US$25,000 would be offered to families of the 66 people killed in the crash.
The payments are separate to those expected from insurance companies on behalf of various parties depending on the investigation into the disaster.
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