Updated:
Original:
Year
2016
Month Day
May 19

EgyptAir flight 804 disappears over the Mediterranean Sea

On May 19, 2016, 66 passengers and crew flying from Cairo to Paris on EgyptAir flight 804 disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea.

It took a month to find the wreckage.

At first the flight was thought to be a casualty of terrorism, but the true cause was revealed the next year. After debate and investigation, French authorities discredited the Egyptian claim that explosive materials were found in the remains, and that a fire had caused the plane to go down.

According to records from the black box, the flight was about 40 minutes from its destination when smoke was detected by onboard fire alarms. Just a minute later, more smoke was reportedly observed in the electronics and computers below the cockpit. The plane then made a 90-degree turn, circled and plummeted, breaking up in midair before crashing into the ocean below.

After the flight went down, investigation teams from several countries searched for the remains. While some of the belongings of passengers and pieces of the plane washed up days later, it wasn’t until June that the full plane was found underwater. While the Egyptian investigation team claimed that explosive materials were found in the wreckage, French investigators countered that there were signs of a fire and a midair break up, not an explosion.

The flight’s disappearance, along with an incident involving a Russian passenger plane being brought down over the Sinai Peninsula just a few months earlier, renewed security concerns and fears of terrorism.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Lawrence of Arabia dies

T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident six days before. Thomas Edward ...read more

Avian flu kills young boy

A three-year-old boy dies of avian influenza in Hong Kong on this day in 1997. By the time the outbreak was controlled, six people were dead and 1.6 million domestic fowl were destroyed. The young boy, the first victim of the flu outbreak, had been hospitalized six days ...read more

FDR and Winston Churchill plot D-Day

On this day in 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt set a date for the cross-Channel landing that would become D-Day—May 1, 1944. That date will prove a bit premature, as bad weather becomes a factor. Addressing a joint session of ...read more