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, but rather determined 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. A 2022 report determined a pilot smoking a cigarette caused the fire and crash.
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.