EgyptAir flight MS-804 had to make three emergency landings in a 24-hour period before its crash, reports in French media said.
The Airbus A320 was forced to turn around after taking off and return to its originating airport: Asmara in Eritrea, Cairo, and Tunis. The plane was forced to land after warning systems signaled anomalies on board the plane, The Telegraph reported, citing France 3 TV.
The plane was quickly allowed to leave after inspectors carried out a technical audit and they didn’t find anything wrong.
The plane disappeared off radar systems and crashed in the early hours on May 19 while it was flying from Paris to Cairo.
The claims of three emergency landings was disputed by EgyptAir’s chairman, Safwat Mesallam, on Thursday. He said the French reports were “untrue,” the Egypt Independent reported. He made the comments on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Dublin, Ireland.
“We fully trust the aircraft and the pilot,” added Musallam in the Telegraph report.
The flight went missing with 66 people on board in the early morning hours of April 26.
Meanwhile, Alain Vidalies, France’s transport minister, said he couldn’t confirm the France 3 report. “We have a sudden event which could point towards an attack. On the other hand we have other information which points more towards an accident,” Vidalies told France Info radio.
The grim report came as search crews narrowed in on the search radius for the plane’s wreckage from 3 miles to 1.2 miles. French investigators announced Wednesday that they found a signal from one of the plane’s black boxes, which contain the crucial flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorders.
The Greek defense minister has previously said that the plane swerved and dropped to 15,000 feet before it dropped off radar screens.