Tuesday 12 December 2017

Doomed EgyptAir plane made three emergency landings in 24 hours

Egyptian air hostesses hold a vigil for victims.
Egyptian air hostesses hold a vigil for victims.

Rory Mulholland in Paris

The doomed EgyptAir plane that plunged into the Mediterranean last month with the loss of 66 lives was forced three times to turn around after taking off and return to three different airports in the 24 hours preceding the crash, reports say.

The Airbus A320's warning systems signalled anomalies on board three times during the plane's six rotations - between Asmara in Eritrea, Cairo and Tunis - in the 24 hours before it disappeared on its final flight, according to French media.

But each time when it returned to the airport it had just taken off from, it was quickly allowed to leave again after inspectors carried out a technical audit and found nothing amiss, the reports said.

EgyptAir's chairman, however, denied the claims.

"For me, it is not true," Safwat Musallam said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) annual meeting in Dublin.

He said flight MS804 had not experienced any maintenance issues before departure and that the plane was "normal".

"We fully trust the aircraft and the pilot," said Mr Musallam.

The reports came a day after a French naval ship detected signals from one of the black box flight recorders from the missing plane that was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared off radar screens and crashed on May 19.

It raised hopes that the data and cockpit voice recorders, known as black boxes, can soon be retrieved - and will give an insight into what exactly caused the crash.

The search zone for the jet has now been narrowed to two kilometres, a source on the investigation committee said yesterday.

Irish Independent

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