A recently repaired black box revealed that smoke alarms went off in EgyptAir MS804’s bathrooms and avionics area below the cockpit immediately before its crash, reported the BBC on Thursday.
The flight crashed in the Mediterranean on May 19, killing the 66 crew and passengers on board. Egyptian investigators said that the front of the plane showed “high temperature damage” based off of wreckage recovered from the crash site, the BBC said.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, and only one of the plane’s two black boxes has been fixed. French investigators repaired the flight data recorder, but the recordings in the cockpit have yet to be recovered.
Both black boxes suffered severe water damage, and the Egyptian investigative team had to send them to France for the data to be recovered.
A legal investigation has now been opened into the crash, the office of the Paris district prosecutor told Reuters on Monday. The charges include involuntarily manslaughter, which generally implies that there was no criminal intent to down the airplane.
The prosecutor’s office added that it is not investigating the case as a terrorist act.
An international team of investigators located the black boxes on the eastern Mediterranean seabed on June 16 and 17. The memory units were first sent to Egyptian authorities and prosecutors in Alexandria before they were shipped to France for the removal of salt accumulation and repairs, Reuters said.
Following the repairs, the memory units will be returned to Egypt, where specialists are to conduct data analysis at the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s labs, according to a statement issued by the ministry last week.
It may take several weeks to analyze the data, the ministry said.
Flight MS804 was en route from the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to Cairo International Airport when the plane disappeared from Egyptian and Greek radar screens. There is currently little verified information into the causes of the crash, although smoke was reportedly detected in one of the lavatories near the cockpit before it plunged into the Mediterranean. Aviation authorities said the plane did not emit any distress signals.
Among the 66 individuals aboard the downed vessel, 30 were reportedly Egyptians, while another 15 were French nationals.