CAIRO: A French probe into an EgyptAir crash that killed 66 passengers said the plane should not have taken off because it was not equipped to fly, international media reported, as Cairo downplayed the findings.
The Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo on May 19, 2016, when it crashed into the Mediterranean and killed everyone on board, including 40 Egyptians and 15 French citizens.
The report, commissioned by the French judiciary and prepared with the input of experts, also found that the aircraft was meant to be inspected during its previous four flights after repeated defects which were not reported by the crew. It went on to say that the experts analyzed the notebook, aircraft data and automated maintenance schedule.
The inspector and aviation technician who wrote the report noted that, a day before the incident, approximately 20 warnings were sent through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System indicating crashes inside the plane, but EgyptAir did not intervene.
The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday it would not give any technical information about the crash, in response to the French report, because of the investigation’s referral to public prosecutors. Only prosecutors could comment on the matter, said the ministry statement.
But MP Mohammad Fouad told Arab News he had asked Parliament to discuss the report’s findings, and to discuss safety and maintenance procedures with EgyptAir.
Adham Hassan, a pilot, said the French findings were unofficial and not final.
He said the body responsible for investigating the incident was the state where the incident occurred, then the state of registration of the aircraft and then the state where the plane was manufactured and designed.
He said since the incident occurred in Egyptian waters, it was subject to investigation by Egyptians. Egypt was also the operating and registered state and was responsible for issuing the final formal report and sending it to other parties, he added.
The French report said an electrical problem that could lead to a fire was repeatedly noted, but that pilots ignored it, and even the main defects reported by audiovisual warnings were not included in any technical report.
Initial reports in 2016 suggested that the crash may have been the result of a terrorist act, due to the trace presence of explosive material on the remains of the victims.
Last year Egypt’s prosecutor general rejected findings by French investigators that a cockpit fire likely caused the crash, saying they were “unfounded.”