Civil aviation ministry can’t confirm smoke detected aboard crashed EgyptAir jet
The Egyptair Airbus 320, which disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean sea on Thursday May 19, 2016, is pictured in Vienna, Austria, in this photo taken August 21, 2015. Thomas Ranner/ via Reuters
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CAIRO: The Civil Aviation Ministry announced it was not able to confirm statements from French investigation body that smoke had been detected aboard the EgyptAir plane before it disappeared from radar screens on Thursday.

The statement was aired on the official Egyptian television Saturday. It came hours after spokesperson for France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for civil aviation safety (BEA) said the ill-fated EgyptAir plane has sent a burst of error messages indicating that smoke had been detected on board before crashing into the Mediterranean, according to Reuters.

“We can confirm that we have seen ACARS [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] messages from flight MS804 in which it is written that smoke was detected on board. At this stage we still do not know what happened on board. Our priority is to locate the wreckage and the black boxes,” BEA spokesman told the ABC News broadcaster.

However, the spokesperson said BEA does not clarify the causes for the smoke.

On Saturday, the Egyptian military posted first photos from search operations of what it said was the missing plane debris and the passengers’ belongings.

On Thursday early morning, EgyptAir announced its flight number MS804, with 56 passengers and 10 crew members on board, had disappeared from the route from Paris to Cairo.

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