Terrorism or technical error? Authorities confused about reasons behind EgyptAir flight crash

Conjectures about the possible reasons for the crash of the EgyptAir flight MS804 are abound. Media companies and Egypt’s Aviation ministry have come out and speculated over the disappearance of the flight.

Image courtesy: EgyptAir Facebook page.

EgyptAir changed its cover picture to ‘MS804’ on its Twitter and Facebook account. Image courtesy: EgyptAir Facebook page.

The plane, which departed from Paris on Wednesday night at 2.26 am, reportedly crashed in the Mediterranean Sea minutes after it lost contact with the Greek and Egyptian air traffic controllers. The flight, with about 56 passengers was headed to Cairo and lost contact with radar over the Mediterranean shortly before its landing time.

One of the most prominent reasons, following the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by Islamic State last year, is the involvement of terror groups. Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said that a terrorist attack was “a higher possibility” for the plane’s disappearance than a technical problem, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

A technical problem or a mechanical malfunction is another and most general hypothesis. However, The Telegraph reported that “a major technical fault – the explosion of a motor, for instance – seems improbable,” according to aeronautics expert Gerard Feldzer.

Aviation safety experts, however, suggest that there was some kind of in-flight emergency because the suddend movements of MS804 were not usual, according to The New York Times. After entering the Egyptian airspace, it made a 90 degree turn to the left and then a 360 degree turn to the right, falling from about 11277 to around 4572 metres.

Terrorism is another and most likely justification for the crash of Airbus A320. It was either shot down, similar to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 or an explosion took place in the flight. Egypt has recently been receiving a number of threats from terror organisations like the islamic state and al-qaeda. However, unlike their previous stint with a Russian passenger jet, ISIS has not released any statement claiming to bring down MS804.

EgyptAir, however, retains its stand that the reason for the crash is still unknown. It posted on social networking site twitter:

The Egyptian armed forces on Friday found debris of the missing plane and personal belongings of passengers around 295 kilometres from the Egyptian coastline. EgyptAir announced through a Facebook post:

The EgyptAir flight MS804 was carrying 56 passengers from disparate nationalities and 10 crew members. On their Twitter account, EgyptAir confirmed that there were about 30 Egyptians and 15 French people on board Airbus A320.

The Airbus A320 models are 37.57 metres in length and 11.76 metres in height. It can fly upto 220 passengers. According to a report by Daily News, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has claimed that its A320 model is the most secure aircraft. One of it was delivered to EgyptAir in 2003 and had accumulated a flying time of 48000 hours.

The White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that “the US offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew od EgyptAirFlight 804,” according to PTI. However, he also added that the US does not know “definitely” what caused the disappearance of the flight. EgyptAir changed its cover picture to ‘MS804’ on its Twitter and Facebook account to mourn the tragedy.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 20, 2016 16:19 PM

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