This past Friday, the efforts of Egyptian naval crews led to the discovery of remains from EgyptAir Flight 804 in the Mediterranean Sea.
Included in bits of the plane’s wreckage were baggage as well as human body parts. The discovery was made in a search area approximately 180 miles north of Alexandria, Egypt.
A multinational search effort is underway with parameters encompassing about 130 nautical miles southeast of the Greek island of Karpathos.
The search area was narrowed when the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A satellite found an oil slick just over a mile in length in a location near where the plane was believed to have crashed.
However, only small remnants of the flight remain. The bulk of the remains will likely sink below the surface, taking the clues they could provide about the cause of the crash down to the sea floor.
In order to find the cause behind the crash, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry formed an investigative committee. The committee is headed by Ayman al-Moqadem.
This same investigator is also leading an inquiry into a plane crash that occurred last October when a Russian jet went down over Sinai.That cras claimed the lives of the 224 people on board and is believed to be the work of terrorists.
Aiding the investigation are three French technical safety investigators who have travelled to Cairo to analyse the facts surrounding the fateful flight.
EgyptAir flight 804 left from Paris’s Charles-de-Gaulle airport with 66 on board, 56 crew members and 10 crew members late on Wednesday night.
This routine flight’s usual projected duration is three and a half hours. EgyptAir 804 was lost while en route to Cairo early Thursday morning after disappearing from radar. A suspicious flight pattern by EgyptAir flight 804 has led Egyptian officials to speculate that terrorists were behind the tragedy.
The routine flight took a strange turn when the plane made a 90 degree turn to the left followed, by around-about curve 360 degrees in the other direction.
Then, according to Greek officials aiding the investigation, the plane proceeded to quickly drop in elevation from 15,000 feet to 10,000 feet before dropping off of the radar.
However, U.S. officials say attribute to the strange motions to another cause. They speculate that the swerving movement from the plane that was detected was likely not the plane’s flight pattern, but rather from pieces of debris as they fell sporadically through the sky.
In either scenario, investigators speculate a terror attack could have brought EgpytAir flight 804 down. However, preliminary searches through the passenger manifest have not resulted in any hits on terror watch lists.
Increasingly new clues are coming to light about what might have brought down the EgyptAir plane, though there is no concrete answer supported by the present evidence. Reportedly, the plane had recently undergone a routine maintenance check before taking off.
However, it may have been technical issues with the plane’s machinery that brought it down into the Mediterranean. According to flight data, in the minutes leading up to the time of the crash, smoke alerts were set off near the airliner cockpit.
The source of the data was the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a data link that allows messaging communication between planes in the air and facilities on the ground.
Despite the timing of the alerts, the warnings do not necessarily indicate that a fire actually occurred on the plane. Furthermore, it is inconclusive if the crew was even aware of the alerts.
The most important data is time stamped over a period of two minutes, in which there are indications that a plethora of related problems may have arisen all at once.
The data evidence suggests that there were problems with the heated window in the cockpit, a sliding window in the cockpit, smoke in the bathroom and avionics compartment window, as well as possible malfunctions in the auto pilot and flight control systems.
Still, these clues leave it unclear whether the cause of the malfunctions was mechanical failure or some sort of incendiary device. The real key to the cause of the crash likely lies with the flight data as well as cockpit voice recorders, which are known as “blackboxes.”
No terror group has stepped forward to claim credit for downing the plane. Still, without further evidence, questions surrounding the cause of the crash of EgyptAir flight 804 will remain a mystery.