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10 July 2018, 08:28 | Glen Norman
Fire likely cause of 2016 EgyptAir crash: probe
French air accident investigators say that a rapidly spreading fire probably caused the crash of an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo in 2016, casting doubt on Egyptian authorities' claims that traces of explosives were found.
Egyptair flight MS-804 plunged into the Mediterranean about 130kms north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria on May 19, 2016, with 56 passengers and 10 crew on board.
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".
"In an effort to continue the safety investigation mission, the BEA asked to meet the Egyptian Attorney General, " it said. But a source close to the French investigation previously said no such traces were found by the team.
On May 25, 2016, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received a delegation from the French National Assembly and offered his condolences to the French victims onboard the EgyptAir MS804.
The Egyptian public prosecutor's office, for its part, said it was in "total cooperation with the French investigators".
France and Egypt have in the past disagreed over how crash investigations are handled.
Officials recovered flight recorders that were analyzed two months after the crash because advanced fix work was needed first, the new report from investigators with France's Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety, known as BEA said.
No group has come forward to claim responsibility for any attack that downed the aircraft. After a bomb brought down a Metrojet plane carrying Russian holidaymakers home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh in October 2015, killing all 224 people on board, Egyptian officials initially denied widely held suspicions that a bomb caused the crash.
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