First Recording of EgyptAir Pilot’s Final Words to Ground Control Before Plane Crashed
The first audio clip to be released following last week’s EgyptAir Flight 804 crash involves the pilot, who said everything was OK about two hours before it went down.
In mundane recordings, the pilots of the plane checked in with air traffic controllers in Athens while they were flying over Switzerland. They even joked a bit before the pilot signed off, saying, “Good night.”
That was more than two hours before Greek air traffic controllers lost contact with them.
Pilot Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair contacted Zurich, Switzerland, air traffic controllers on Wednesday night before he was handed over to controllers in Padua.
“EgyptAir 804, contact Padova 1-2-0, decimal 7-2-5, good night,” a Swiss air traffic controller can be heard saying, according to Liveatc.net.
The pilot then responded: “This is 0-7-2-5 Padova control. (Unintelligible) 8-0-4. Thank you so much. Good day, er, good night.”
The exchange took place on Wednesday at around midnight. The plane is believed to have crashed into the Mediterranean at around 2:30 a.m.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, but France’s foreign minister said that all “hypotheses are being examined.”
The search for the wreckage ramped up over the weekend, as 24-hour flights from U.S. aircraft using sophisticated equipment were called in to scan the water, ABC News reported.
Ships that are able to scan the ocean floor are also helping in the search to find the plane’s black boxes, which contain the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
Meanwhile, sources close to the investigation indicate that smoke alerts went off before the crash, CNN reported. That information came via the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a data link for sending messages between planes and officials on the ground. The alerts don’t necessarily mean a fire took place on the plane or that the crew knew about the alerts, which are transmitted automatically, aviation experts said.
The Aviation Herald said smoke detectors went off in the plane’s bathroom before the signal was lost.
ACARS spokesman Sebastien Barthe told the BBC that the messages sent from the plane “generally mean the start of a fire” but he cautioned, “We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture.”
The plane carrying 66 people disappeared while flying from Paris to Cairo, Egypt.
Egyptian officials believe terrorism was involved, but no group has taken credit for it.
No survivors have been found. Searchers over the weekend and Friday found human remains and suitcases, along with other debris.
Egypt on Sunday deployed a submarine to search for the black boxes. “We are moving hard to retrieve the two boxes,” President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said in a public address.
“The theory that the plane crashed and fell is now confirmed after the preliminary search and after it did not arrive at any of the nearby airports,” a senior aviation source, who declined to be identified, told Aviation Security International magazine. “All causes for the disaster are open, whether it is a major technical fault or a terrorist action or any other circumstance. This will be ascertained when we inspect the plane’s wreckage and transcribe its black boxes.”