Pilots' union rejects negligence in EgyptAir crash

Pilots' union rejects negligence in EgyptAir crash
Egypt's pilots' union have rejected a French report suggesting negligence in the 2016 EgyptAir crash that killed 66 people
2 min read
The families' representatives have called for EgyptAir to face criminal charges [Getty- archive]

The Egyptian pilots' union on Friday rejected negligence in a 2016 crash that killed 66 people.

French expert reports given to that country's judiciary have suggested a leaky cockpit oxygen mask and human factors were likely responsible.

EgyptAir flight MS804 suddenly disappeared from radar screens on May 19, 2016 on its way to Cairo from Paris. Everybody on board died.

Khaled Refat, president of the pilots' union, said it wants to sue media who reported the "slanderous" accusations, which Egypt has not officially responded to.

The country's aviation minister had initially said a terrorist attack, rather than lack of maintenance, was more likely to have brought down the plane.

Oxygen leaking from the co-pilot's emergency oxygen mask "is seen as the decisive element" causing the fire, the five experts wrote in their 134-page report delivered to the Paris court of appeal in March.

Another expert report in June last year suggested three possible causes of the fire, each of them human-linked and including a "high probability of a lit cigarette or a burning cigarette butt in an ashtray".

The pilots' union said the crew flying the plane were non-smokers and "among the most qualified."

The expert report also pointed to a pattern of "unprofessional activity" including listening to music, repeated comings and goings in the cockpit and "lack of attention to the progress of the flight".

In June 2018, two experts requested by investigating judges in Paris highlighted the replacement, three days before the crash, of the box containing the co-pilot's oxygen mask, for unknown reasons.

Most of those killed in the crash were Egyptians. Fifteen French nationals also died. The families' representatives have called for EgyptAir to face criminal charges.