There were smoke alerts aboard EgyptAir Flight 804 in the minutes before it crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, according to flight data CNN obtained Friday from an Egyptian source.
The data was filed through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), a data link for sending messages between planes and ground facilities. A screen grab of data has time stamps that match the approximate time the aircraft went missing early Thursday.
Authorities have not said what may have caused the plane carrying 66 people to crash while flying from Paris to Cairo.
Egyptian officials say they suspect terrorism, but no group has come forward to claim credit.
The ACARS screen grab provided information about smoke and heat on a window near the co-pilot and in the lavatory, which was behind the cockpit, CNN aviation analyst David Soucie said.
“If there’s fire on board the aircraft, in this area which the ACARS indicates, then something was close to the cockpit,” Soucie said. “It could have been either something mechanical that had failed, a short circuit, or it could have been an incendiary device of some kind as well.”
ACARS does not provide a cause of the crash, but Soucie said it was significant that the data was sent over a period of one to two minutes.
“Now if it it was a bomb, the characteristic bomb … (it) would have ruptured the skin of the aircraft,” he said. “This is not the indication you would have had, because a bomb that would do that would be instantaneous, and these reports would not have gone over two minutes like they do.”
He also noted that a fire in that section of the plane could have affected communications equipment.