CAIRO — The pilot of missing EgyptAir flight 804 warned air traffic controllers in Cairo that parts of the cabin were engulfed in smoke just minutes before the plane crashed, according to a report.
French television station M6 said pilot Mohamed Saeed Shokair spoke for several minutes, explaining that smoke had engulfed parts of the plane and he was going to make an emergency descent, the Independent reported.
The report contradicts official claims that no distress signals were received from the jet, according to the Independent.
Egypt is leading a multi-nation search for the plane’s black boxes in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as it seeks answers about what caused the crash.
However, experts who spoke to the Telegraph said data sent by the plane indicates it was brought down by an internal explosion.
Leaked data suggests an explosion ripped through the right side of the plane as it flew from Paris to Cairo last Thursday, the Telegraph reported.
French officials said smoke detectors on the plane were activated minutes before it crashed, but the cause of the smoke or fire remained unclear.
The data was taken from the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which sent three separate warnings, according to the Telegraph.
Experts said a bomb could have caused the explosion, but no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the crash, the Telegraph reported.
The search for the plane’s black boxes continued on Monday as Egypt mourned the loss of 30 of its citizens. Some 56 passengers and 10 crew members were aboard the fatal flight when it crashed, including 15 French nationals.
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