October 25, 2016

Images released of debris found in plane search


The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.
They include life vests, parts of seats and objects clearly marked EgyptAir.
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard when it vanished from radar early on Thursday.
Investigators have confirmed smoke was detected in various parts of the cabin three minutes before it disappeared, but say the cause is still not known.
Speaking on Saturday after meeting relatives of victims, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said “all theories are being examined and none is favoured”.
The search has also reportedly found body parts and luggage.
The main body of the plane and the two “black boxes” which show flight data and cockpit transmissions have not yet been located.
The Aviation Herald said that smoke detectors had gone off in the toilet and the aircraft’s electronics before the signal was lost.
It said it had received flight data filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) from three independent channels.
It said the system showed that at 02:26 local time on Thursday (00:26 GMT) smoke was detected in the jet’s toilet.
This data could be the biggest clue yet as to what happened. It suggests there was a fire at the front of the aircraft, on the right-hand side.
The sequence begins with a warning of an overheating window in the cockpit. Smoke is then detected in the lavatory (we assume it’s the one behind the cockpit) and in a bay right underneath the cockpit, which is full of electronic equipment.
Finally, another window becomes too hot, before all the systems begin collapsing. All of this takes place over a few minutes, then the aircraft drops off the radar.
Some pilots have suggested that the 90 degree left turn the plane then made is a known manoeuvre to get out of the way in an emergency, when an aircraft needs to drop height suddenly.
The 360 degree turn after that, they say, could be the crew managing a crisis.
So it seems that the aircraft caught fire and that the fire spread very quickly. But whether that fire was deliberate or mechanical, we still can’t say.
Security consultant Sally Leivesley said the timing on the data suggested an “extremely rapidly developing flame front from a fire that has overwhelmed the avionics very, very quickly”.
She cited the case of “underpants bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to set off an explosive device hidden in his underwear on a Detroit-bound flight in 2009.
Although the attempt failed, a fire from the device’s chemicals still spread “right up the side of the plane”.
Greece says radar shows the Airbus A320 making two sharp turns and dropping more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
The search is now focused on finding the plane’s flight recorders, in waters between 2,500 and 3,000 metres deep.

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