New data on downed Egyptian plane suggest windows on right side were blown out by explosion
Data from the final moments before EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean suggest an "internal explosion" tore through the right side of the aircraft, a pilot said last night.French officials are starting to look for suspects who may have had access to the plane before takeoff. The data suggesting the windows were blown out is new and will have to be confirmed by the black box when it is found. If this data is confirmed, the likelihood of a terrorist operation becomes clearer. It suggests there was a breach in the security at the airport in France or someone on the crew may have been involved.
Investigators trying to determine whether the A320 was brought down by terrorism or a technical fault are poring over a series of warnings indicating smoke filled the cabin shortly before it disappeared from radar.
French authorities confirmed that smoke detectors went off aboard the flight a few minutes before it crashed but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire.
A commercial pilot with a major European airline told The Telegraph that other parts of the data log suggested that windows in the right side of the cockpit were blown out by an explosion inside the aircraft.
"It looks like the right front and side window were blown out, most probably from inside out," said the pilot, who flies an A330 similar to the crashed A320 and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The data was taken from the plane's Acars system, which sends short transmissions from the aircraft to receivers on the ground.
Until investigators find the aircraft's black boxes, which are still missing in the Mediterannean, the Acars offers the best sens on what was happening aboard.
Three different warnings showed there were faults in the windows next to the co-pilot, suggesting they could have been blasted outwards by an onboard bomb. That does not mean the explosion came from the cockpit but indicates the right side of the plane was more badly damaged than the left.
The pilot suggested the smoke detectors may have been triggered not fire but by fog which filled the cabin as it lost air pressure in the moments after the explosion.