EgyptAir pilot ‘made distress call’ which lasted minutes, aviation sources claim
Mohamed Said Shoukair was believed to have lost contact with airspace operators, but French aviation sources today said he called in to say he was making ‘an emergency descent’ because of a fire.
The Airbus A320 flight MS804 plunged into the sea last Thursday while travelling from Paris to Cairo.
Sources in France said there was ‘conversation several minutes long’ between Captain Shoukair and the controllers, which amounted to ‘a distress call’.
M6, the French TV channel, reported that the pilot then initiated a ‘rapid descent’ aimed at putting out the fire on board, and clearing the smoke.
Rapid descents involve dramatic changes in cabin air pressure, and can be extremely dangerous, but the claims about the flight’s last moments fit in with earlier information.
According to Greece’s defence minister, Pano Kammenos, the plane dropped sharply from 37000 feet to 15000 feet, and then made ‘sudden swerves’.
As it entered Egyptian airspace, over the Greek island of Karpathos, the first turn was a sharp, 90-degree one to the east, and then there was a full circular loop.