EgyptAir MS804 Update As Egyptian Official Claims Plane Did Not Swerve Before Crashing

Another contradictory report of the doomed plane.

The fate of the crashed EgyptAir flight has become even murkier as an Egyptian official contradicted previous claims the plane swerved before disappearing.

Ehab Azmy, the head of Egypt's state-run provider of air navigation services, has now said the aircraft was flying at its normal height of 37,000ft with no unusual movement when contact was lost.

He said: "That fact degrades what the Greeks are saying about the aircraft suddenly losing altitude before it vanished from radar."

<strong>An EgyptAir plane flies past minarets of a mosque as it approaches Cairo International Airport.</strong>
An EgyptAir plane flies past minarets of a mosque as it approaches Cairo International Airport.
Amr Nabil/AP

Last week Greece's defence minister had claimed it had turned 90 degrees left and then performed a 360-degree turn towards the right before plummeting into the Mediterranean Sea.

Flight MS804 crashed on Thursday morning en-route from Charles de Gaulle airport in France to Cairo with 66 people - including Briton Richard Osman - on board.

The cause of the disaster is not yet known but officials have refused to rule out any explanations, including terrorism.

<strong>Pilot Mohamed Said Shoukair.</strong>
Pilot Mohamed Said Shoukair.

The Airbus A320's flight recorders have yet to be recovered and no terror groups have claimed responsibility.

There have been contradicting reports about what actually happened, most recently over whether or not the pilot made a distress call.

Official accounts of the crash stated no such communication was made by Mohamed Said Shoukair, 37, but a French TV claimed on Monday he had “a conversation several minutes long” with Cairo air traffic control about the presence of smoke in parts of the aircraft and said he would attempt an emergency descent to try and clear the air.

<strong>A life vest from EgyptAir flight MS804.</strong>
A life vest from EgyptAir flight MS804.

This conversation, sources say, amounted to a “distress call” and occurred just before the plane went into a rapid descent in the Captain’s attempt to put out the fire and clear the smoke. The manoeuvre involves dramatic changes to cabin air pressure and can be very dangerous.

French authorities have confirmed that smoke detectors went off on board the flight minutes before it crashed but it is not clear what caused the smoke and/ or fire.

The head of the Egyptian investigation team, Ayman al-Moqadem, said Sunday that it will take four weeks for information to be compiled and published as pictures of recovered debris began to circulate.

Body parts are also reported to have been found.

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