Pilot’s Phone Battery May Have Caused EgyptAir Crash
A report in The Telegraph suggests that French investigators are now looking at the possibility that the pilot’s lithium battery from either his tablet or cellphone might have led to a fire onboard the plane.
Investigators claims that there is a “troubling parallel” between where the fire broke out in the cockpit and where the pilot had placed his phone and tablet for the flight. The investigators say that he kept both the tablet and the phone on the glare-shield of the aircraft, which is just above the instrument panel. EgyptAir 804 disappeared over the Mediterranean on May 19, 2016. The flight had departed Paris, France and was enroute to Cairo, Egypt. All 66 passengers and crew onboard were killed in the accident.
In May, reports suggested that the crash was caused by an explosion, after investigators examined bodies and debris from the flight.
David Learmount, an operations and safety editor for Flight International Magazine, told The Telegraph,
Firstly, pilots don’t leave objects on the dashboard because they know the they will end up in their lap when they take off or on the floor and they’ll get airborne in turbulence and could jam the controls.
Also, a phone bursting into flames just below the windscreen is a fairly spectacular thing to take place on a flight, and they would have told somebody on the ground. Nobody has mentioned this.
But the key point is while there were warnings about the window heating systems, there were also smoke alarms in the toilet and avionics bay under the floor. How would the fire have got under there? It doesn’t make sense.
My guess is the little computer in the avionics bay was damaged by fire; and issued spurious warnings, which were in fact the box screaming for help.
Bottom line: we still don’t know what happened to EgyptAir Flight 804 and it seems the newest lead put out by French investigators has its skeptics.