Passenger Airbus A320 crashed into sea because pilot smoked on board, report finds

Photo by Mehmet Mustafa Celik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia


An Egyptair plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, killing all 66 people on board, because a pilot was smoking a cigarette in the air. cockpit alleges a report that was seen by the largest Italian newspaper, the Corriere della Sera. The case is being reviewed by French prosecutors.

Egyptair flight MS-804 was en route from Paris to Cairo but crashed into the sea on May 19, 2016, in what Egyptian authorities initially claimed was a terrorist attack. The researchers, however, believe that the smoking pilot theory is much more likely.

The Airbus A320 aircraft plunged 37,000 feet into the Mediterranean after one of the two pilots lit a cigarette which in turn caused a fire in the cockpitwhich was potentiated by the fact that there was a leaking oxygen mask.


The jet took off from Paris at 11:21 pm on May 19, 2016, but at 2:27 am, a Greek air traffic controller was unable to make contact with the plane. A few minutes later, at 2:34 am, the aircraft disappeared from radar. No distress calls were made before the plane crashed.

The 134-page report concludes that this combination of events is far more likely than the terrorist attack theory, according to Corriere della Sera.

Until the moment of the accident, Egyptair did not ban pilots from smoking in the cockpit. The oxygen mask had been replaced several days before the accident, but the engineer who installed it allegedly forgot to switch it from emergency mode to normal mode, leaving oxygen leaking out.


Both black boxes were recovered about a month after the accident and analyzed by experts from the French air accident agency BEA. Recovered audio records suggest pilots checked oxygen masks, but pilots also complained of tiredness and yawns were heard on the recording.

The dossier revealed this week was handed over to the Paris Court of Appeal, where prosecutors are investigating possible wrongful death charges.

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