A 2016 Airbus A320 crash on EgyptAir that killed 66 was amazingly caused by a cigarette plus oxygen leak in the cockpit according to a new report.
Smoking Plus Oxygen Leak Caused EgyptAir A320 Crash In 2016
On May 19, 2016, EgyptAir flight MS804 traveling from Paris (CDG) to Cairo (CAI) crashed somewhere between the Greek island of Crete and northern Egypt. There were no survivors.
For years, the cause of the crash was unknown. While a leak from French investigators in December 2019 blamed “gross negligence” for the incident and hinted at an onboard fire, it is only now that that we have a better idea of what occurred onboard.
France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) has released a new report, blaming pilot smoking and a leaking oxygen mask for the crash.
Pilot Mohamed Said Shoukair smoked during the flight, which was (and is still) typical in an EgyptAir cockpit. But unbeknownst to him, oxygen was leaking though an oxygen mask in the cockpit (a valve had apparently been placed in an incorrect position three days prior). French investigators noted that from the black box recording, oxygen could be heard hissing.
The lethal combination caused a fire in the cockpit that the flight crew was unable to extinguish, shortly leading to a crash.
Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities had blamed the crash on a terrorist attack, citing “traces of explosives” found on the victims. But French investigators quickly discredited this theory. Egypt has dismissed the BEA’s findings as unfounded.
The implications for this crash are scary, especially considering EgyptAir pilots were still smoking in the cockpit on my flight from Washington (IAD) to Cairo (CAI) late last year. I must admit, I am far less comfortable flying EgyptAir after reading this report.
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