EgyptAir plane was threatened before crash

Dissidents wrote 'we will bring this plane down' on plane's underside in 2014; black boxes may have been found.

Tova Dvorin,

EgyptAir plane (illustration)
EgyptAir plane (illustration)
Reuters

Political vandals threatened the doomed plane carrying flight EgyptAir MS804, EgyptAir workers revealed Saturday, writing in Arabic “we will bring this plane down" on the plane's underbelly. 

Cairo airport workers targeted the plane for its registration number, SU-GCC, which bears similarity to the surname of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 

Three airline employees anonymously confirmed the incident in separate interviews with the New York Times, saying that the airport workers also scrawled the words "traitor" and "murderer" in the 2014 incident. The EgyptAir employees stressed that the incident was political, not terrorism-related. 

EgyptAir upped its security measures since the incident, they said, screening workers for their political views and adding unarmed security guards to flights. Three such guards died Thursday on MS804. 

Tragedy

The Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew and security officers disappeared early Thursday over the Mediterranean as it flew from Paris to Cairo. It was flying at 37,000ft when it disappeared from the radar at 2:29 a.m.

However, Egyptian authorities revealed the plane emitted emergency signals some two hours later. At around the same time, sailors in a ship in the Mediterranean claimed they saw a massive fireball streaking through the sky.

Egypt's civil aviation authority confirmed a mid-air explosion had occurred, and after initially saying they weren't ruling any causes out admitted that a terrorist attack was more likely the cause than a technical failure.

International air and naval teams discovered debris of the plane Friday, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Alexandria. Among the wreckage: personal belongings of passengers and crew. 

Mystery deepens

Conflicting reports emerged Saturday that the black boxes had been found. 

"Black boxes" are the crucial components of any aircraft which record the plane's movements and technical settings at any given time in the Flight Data Recorder, as well as audio from the cockpit in the Cockpit Voice Recorder.

The Egyptian military denied the findings overnight Saturday/Sunday. 

Speculation about the cause of the crash continues. Investigators from the French air crash investigation team, which is tasked with solving the mystery of the crash, told the Associated Press over the weekend that the plane’s automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before it disappeared from radar.

Meanwhile, leaked audio files recording conversations between the pilots and Swiss air traffic controllers revealed no problems in the hours leading up to the crash, Fox News reports Sunday, with the polit conversing with Zurich before being handed off to controllers in Padua, Italy.




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