Flight MS804 to Egypt: crash and 66 dead because the pilot smoked a cigarette?

It was supposed to go from Paris to Cairo – but all the people who boarded the “Egypt Air” machine on May 19, 2016 for Flight MS804 entered lost their lives that day. The passenger jet crashed over the Mediterranean!

︎ The cause of the accident was previously unclear. Now a new report sheds some light on the matter.

It emerges: Pilot Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair († 37) is said to have lit a cigarette above the clouds and thus caused a fire in the plane.

This is reported by the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, citing a 134-page report that unspecified experts sent to a court in Paris. Because there were also twelve Frenchmen on board the machine, a trial for “negligent manslaughter” is underway there.

Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair († 37) steered the “Egypt Air” machinePhoto: action press

Another trigger for the fire, according to the report: three days earlier, the pilots’ oxygen masks were replaced. The oxygen flow of the masks is said to have been in emergency mode – the technicians apparently did not change that. This can lead to a leak.

Means: Apparently high-dose oxygen flowed into the cockpit. In high concentrations it causes a risk of explosion. The pilots are said to have lost control of the machine as a result of the fire.

Map: Egyptair Flight MS804 Infographic

The document does not say whether the pilots used a fire extinguisher. There was no emergency call.

Smoking was therefore not yet prohibited in the cockpits of Egypt Air at that time. And that was apparently used a lot: The ashtrays in the pilot’s cabin were said to have been replaced about two months before the accident because they were badly worn.

At the Cairo airport, there was great grief among the relatives who had been waiting for their loved ones

At the Cairo airport, there was great grief among the relatives who had been waiting for their loved onesPhoto: imago/Xinhua

A total of 56 passengers and ten crew members died in the crash. In addition to the twelve French, they included 30 Egyptian citizens, two from Iraq, one from Canada and one from Great Britain.

The investigators involved in the case had initially contradicted themselves. Egyptian authorities initially suspected a terrorist attack and reported explosive residue on parts of the wreckage and some victims.

Wreckage and personal belongings from the machine

Wreckage and personal belongings from the machinePhoto: dpa

French investigators, on the other hand, accused the Egyptians of poor cooperation and suspected that a tablet PC had exploded near the cockpit. The Egyptian authorities later rejected their attack theory – and also spoke of a fire.


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