‘Let’s not jump to conspiracies’: Egypt’s minister warns against speculating about MS804 crash

© Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi has called on people not to make up conspiracy theories and to wait for the results of the investigation of the EgyptAir flight crash. However, he added that no “important” evidence has been found so far.

The minister stressed that “smoke” that was reportedly detected on board the EgyptAir plane before the catastrophe only indicates that “something” happened with the aircraft and that investigation should no focus on finding out what may have caused this smoke and not on developing “conspiracy… or unrealistic theories.”

“If you want me today to make a statement based on nonsense, then I will tell you [it was a] terrorist attack. But if you want to make statements based on sense and based on facts, then we have to wait and see,” Fathi told RT and other journalists.

He also urged “everybody” to “be proficient” and to wait until the investigation team collects and analyzes the relevant data as well as retrieves the black box and other necessary devices.

At the same time, he admitted that the rescue teams have not been able to find any “important devices” so far that could shed the light on the root causes of the incident, although they are “continuing and widening the search” and “retrieve some wreckages and human remains.”

The minister also emphasized that locating the black box under the water in such location, where the plane crushed, “is a challenge by itself,” adding that special equipment is need for such an operation. According to Fathi, a French vessel with the necessary devices on board is heading towards the crash site. The minister also said that the wreck of the aircraft may lie as deep as “3,000 feet” (900 meters) in the Mediterranean.

At the same time, the Egyptian investigation team issued a statement saying that it is too early to talk about the reasons for the crash of Flight 804. The team is analyzing information obtained from air traffic control, aircraft and crew documents, and the AIRMAN and ACARS aircraft data management systems that record maintenance and fault data, the statement says, stressing that it is too soon to draw conclusions.

“It is far too early to make judgments or decisions on a single source of information such as the ACARS messages, which are signals or indicators that may have different causes (and) thus require further analysis,” the statement reads, as quoted by Reuters.

In the meantime, reports about smoke on the EgyptAir plane before its crash were confirmed by France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for civil aviation safety (BEA).

The Egyptian army has also released first photos of the wreckage of Flight MS804 and passengers’ belongings on Facebook.

EgyptAir Flight MS804, en route from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo, dropped off radar screens early on Thursday in Egypt's airspace. The search operation for the crashed aircraft, involving the Egyptian, French, Greek and US navies, has been ongoing for three days and covers the southern part of the Mediterranean.

On Friday, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said that the Egyptian search teams found human remains and passengers’ belongings. Later the Egyptian military said it had identified a search area to recover EgyptAir Airbus A320's flight recorders.