EgyptAir crash: Flight data shows smoke alerts before crash

Smoke was detected in the Airbus A320 toilet and a minute later there was an avionics smoke alert.

New clues have emerged about the EgyptAir Flight 804, which is believed to have crashed with 66 passengers on board.

According to the data published on air industry website the Aviation Herald, there were smoke alerts near the airliner cockpit just minutes before the signal was lost and the plane disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea.

The data came through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) which is a data link for sending messages between planes and ground facilities.

The system showed that at 02:26 local time on Thursday (00:26 GMT) smoke was detected in the Airbus A320 toilet and a minute later there was an avionics smoke alert at 00:27 GMT.

The last message that was received from the plane was at 00:29 GMT and the contact was lost four minutes later at 02.33 local time.

In an interview with BBC, the editor of Aviation Security International Magazine Philip Baum said technical failure could not be ruled out.

"There was smoke reported in the aircraft lavatory, then smoke in the avionics bay, and over a period of three minutes the aircraft's systems shut down, so you know, that's starting to indicate that it probably wasn't a hijack, it probably wasn't a struggle in the cockpit, it's more likely a fire on board."

He continued saying, ""Now whether that was a technical fire, a short circuit, or whether it was because a bomb went off on board, we don't know."

Greece had earlier said the radar showed the Airbus A320 had taken two sharp turns and suddenly dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before it plunged into the sea.

The Egyptian search teams found debris and body parts of the plane on Friday. Items including seats and luggage have been retrieved by the search team.

The Egyptian military has said that debris was discovered about 290km (180 miles) north of Alexandria.

The European Space Agency satellites have also spotted an oil slick in the same area but the organization said that it couldn't be confirmed whether it was from the plane or not.

The search teams are now focusing on finding the plane's flight recorders which can give more information about the incident.