PARIS (Reuters) – The 2016 accident of an EgyptAir flight between Paris and Cairo that killed all 66 people on board was probably caused by a fire in the cabin, French investigators said, contradicting a previous suggestion from Egyptian authorities that a bomb could have been the cause.
Rare The collision of another country is criticized, French aerial accident investigation agency BEA said in a statement that authorities in Egypt apparently had not responded to requests for further investigations.
Egyptian officials said traces of explosives were found in human remains recovered from the accident, suggesting it was a malicious act.
"The proposals of the BEA on the additional work on the remains and the recorded data were not, to the extent that BEA knows it, monitored.The technical elements of the investigation already compiled by Egypt, including those provided by the BEA, are protected by the Egyptian judicial investigation, "said the French statement.
Twelve of those killed in the May 2016 accident were French citizens.
It is unusual for researchers to comment publicly on a case led by their counterparts in another country. Any disagreement would usually be expressed confidentially, with public comments that would indicate serious divergences.
"The BEA considers that the most probable hypothesis is that a fire broke out in the cabin while the aircraft was flying at its cruising altitude and that the fire spread rapidly, which caused the loss of control of the aircraft," reads in the statement. .
He noted that the Egyptian investigators had not published their final report, adding that the BEA was ready to resume work with the Egyptian authorities if they were to resume work on the investigation. International regulations stipulate that a report must appear within one year of an accident.
EgyptAir and the Egyptian Ministry of Aviation were not immediately available to comment on the case, which was handed over to the judicial authorities after the Egyptian assessment of the case given in December 2016.
A person familiar with the case The matter, which spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "There are political differences between France and Egypt over this investigation." The source refused to give more details.
France and Egypt in the past did not agree on how crash investigations are handled.
After a bomb toppled a Metrojet plane carrying Russian tourists to their home from the Sharm al-Sheikh spa on the Red Sea in October 2015, killing the 224 people on board, the Egyptian authorities They initially denied widespread suspicions that a bomb caused the accident.
Neither France nor the United States suspected a bomb in the EgyptAir accident, however.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Metrojet bomb and said it smuggled explosives into a soda can.
Report by Ingrid Melander, Tim Hepher, Eric Knecht; Edition of Alison Williams and Helen Popper