France Opens Flight 804 Manslaughter Case

Officials say there's no evidence linking crash to terrorism
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 28, 2016 12:21 AM CDT
France Opens Flight 804 Manslaughter Case
Egyptians light candles during a vigil for the victims of EgyptAir Flight 804 in Cairo last month.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

French authorities opened a manslaughter inquiry Monday into the May crash of an EgyptAir plane that killed 66 people, saying there is no evidence so far to link it to terrorism. Prosecutor's office rep Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre says the inquiry was launched as an accident investigation, not a terrorism investigation, the AP reports. She says French authorities are "not at all" favoring the theory that the plane was downed deliberately, though the status of the inquiry could eventually change if evidence emerges to that effect. Investigators decided to start the probe before waiting to analyze the plane's flight data and voice recorders, based on evidence gathered so far, she said, without elaborating.

EgyptAir Flight 804, an Airbus A320 en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board, slammed into the Mediterranean on May 19. The reason for the crash remains unclear. The pilots made no distress call and no group has claimed to have brought down the aircraft. An Egyptian official at the ministry of civil aviation says Egyptian authorities haven't been notified of the French prosecutor's decision and that all scenarios remain on the table. "There is no evidence that backs up or rules out any of the possible scenarios of what caused the crash, including whether it is a terrorist act or technical problems," he says. (Both of the aircraft's black boxes have now been recovered.)

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