Egypt rejects French findings fire caused passenger jet crash

Cairo (AFP) –


Egypt's prosecutor general on Monday rejected findings by French investigators that a cockpit fire likely caused the 2016 crash of an EgyptAir passenger jet that killed 66 people.

The Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo on May 19, 2016 when it crashed into the southeastern Mediterranean, killing everyone on board, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French citizens.

French investigators had always leaned towards a mechanical fault as the cause of the crash, saying they suspected a mobile phone or tablet on the aircraft had caught fire.

But an official Egyptian probe in 2016 suggested the plane operating flight MS804 had been bombed, saying traces of explosives had been found on the remains of those killed.

In a statement on Monday, the office of Egypt's public prosecution said findings published last week by France's civil aviation accident bureau, known by its French acronym BEA, were "unfounded".

Investigations into the crash were still ongoing, it said.

On Friday, the BEA said information gleaned from the flight recorders suggested "a fire broke out in the cockpit... causing the loss of control of the aircraft".

It said it was waiting for Egypt to publish its final report into the crash to understand how the two countries arrived at different conclusions.

French investigators and the families of the French victims have deplored a lack of cooperation from the Egyptian authorities.

The Egyptian public prosecutor's office, for its part, said it was in "total cooperation with the French investigators".

No group has come forward to claim responsibility for any attack that downed the aircraft.