Army radar images prove EgyptAir MS804 swerved and changed direction before crashing

Ahmed Abbas
4 Min Read
Online ticket purchases for airlines in Egypt amounts to $1.9bn, out of $11bn in the Arab region. (AFP Photo)

The radar images received by the investigation committee of the MS804 aeroplane crash from the Egyptian armed forces showed that the aeroplane swerved and changed direction to the left then turned for a full circle, said the investigation committee in an official statement.

The images are in accordance with the radar images previously received from the Greek and British radars, “however, investigation can not only count on such information”, the statement added.

On 19 May, EgyptAir flight MS804, flying from Paris to Cairo, crashed into the Mediterranean, claiming the lives of all 66 people on board.

The manufacturers of the flight data recorder stated that the signals will continue to come out of the black boxes until 24 June.

The committee has also approved the request of the US National Transportation Safety Board to assign one of its representatives to join the team as the aeroplane’s engine was manufactured by the US company Pratt and Whitney.

An expert from the black box manufacturer will also participate in the investigations.

Professor Robert Jones, department chairperson of Aviation and Transportation Studies at Lewis University, told Daily News Egypt that the two sharp divergences reported by the Greek minster could be signs of manoeuvres carried out by the pilots in an attempt to avoid a certain situation.

“The 90 degree turn that was initially made and the subsequent 360 degree turn while descending from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet and then loss of radar contact at 10,000 feet could indicate that the pilots were making a dramatic effort to escape an unsafe situation and reach a lower altitude. In the case of depressurisation, smoke, or a fire, these manoeuvres could have been made to save the aircraft and its passengers and crew,” Jones added.

Two vessels, LaPlace and John Lethbridge, are still carrying out their mission at the wreckage designated area, according to the statement.

Earlier this month, LaPlace received a signal from one of the black boxes which narrow the searching area.

The investigation committee previously received a satellite report showing that an electronic message was sent from the aeroplane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), which sends an automated message in case of a crash or if the aeroplane becomes submerged in water.

The committee presented the coordinates of the message to search teams so they can narrow down the search area.

The ELT of the Airbus A320 is manufactured by Honeywell International and designed to aid in the detection and location of the aircraft in distress.

ELTs emit a digital signal, or ping, that can be picked up by aircraft accident investigation authorities by satellite or other receivers. “These signals help locate the transmitter which is contained within the aircraft. This data primarily serves to locate the aircraft itself,” Jones added.

ELT can help investigators minimise the search area to a smaller, more manageable area.




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Ahmed Abbas is a journalist at DNE’s politics section. He previously worked as Egypt based reporter for, and interned as a broadcast journalist at Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Abbas is a fellow of Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. He holds a Master’s Degree of Journalism and New Media from Jordan Media Institute. He was awarded by the ICFJ for best public service reporting in 2013, and by the German foreign office for best feature in 2014.
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