Back in May of 2016 EgyptAir flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo when suddenly, just after midnight, "the Airbus A320 turned 90 degrees to the left, then swung 360 degrees to the right and plummeted 25,000 feet before disappearing from radar". It spiraled into the Mediterranean Sea tragically killing all 66 passengers & crew on board.
The cause of the crash was unknown, but in the aftermath as grieving family members & the public grasped for answers, Egypt's civil aviation minister said 'the possibility that this was a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure'.
Many were skeptical of that claim since Egypt has a long history of flight mishaps & disasters, and now experts have determined terrorism was indeed not the case.
But the real cause is still shocking...
Via NY Post:
France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) has since concluded that pilot Mohamed Said Shoukair’s mid-air smoke break led to a fire onboard the Airbus A320 jet when his cigarette ignited oxygen leaking from an oxygen mask in the cockpit.
Even more shocking? It wasn't like the pilot was sneaking a cig up there... He was openly smoking because it was allowed by the airline. In 2016 EgyptAir pilots could still rip heaters free of consequence.
In 2018, France’s BEA determined that the flight went down because of a fire onboard based on analysis of data from the aircraft’s black box recorder, which was recovered from deep water near Greece by the US Navy — though at the time investigators did not say what specifically caused the onboard inferno.
But in March 2022, BEA released a new report that alleges that oxygen had leaked from a pilot’s oxygen mask in the cockpit shortly before the crash, based on black box data that captured the sound of the oxygen hissing.
The oxygen mask in question had been replaced just three days before the fateful flight by an EgyptAir maintenance worker, but for an unknown reason it had its release valve set to the “emergency position,” which, according to the Airbus safety manual, could lead to leaks.
Pilots AND passengers around the world could smoke on flights (even up until 1990 on domestic flights in the USA) and I couldn't find any instance of that being the reason for previous crashes.. and I feel like what happened with EgyptAir is some crazy, coincidental sequence of events you'd see play out in a movie script, but it still could have been totally avoided had they not had antiquated smoking rules among other safety issues.
Even worse is that Egypt is dismissing the report findings & refusing to cooperate in the investigation. Seems like the only change they've made is not allowing pilots to smoke anymore. Crazy, and ultimately so, so sad for all those lost and their families seeking justice for something that didn't need to happen.