EgyptAir plane crash… was it because of the co-pilot’s phone?

CCTV camera footage before the flight showed the phone and tablet lying on the glare-shield

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Investigators in France probing the crash of the EgyptAir jet flying from Paris to Cairo that crashed into the Mediterranean last May are now pondering on whether the lithium batteries on a pilot’s mobile phone and tablet had overheated and sparked a fire.

Le Parisien newspaper citing an air transport gendarmerie investigation reports that the fire on board Flight 804 had broken out in the cockpit area and this is where the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 had placed his phone and tablet on the glare-shield above the instrument panel.

CCTV camera footage before the flight showed the personal belongings lying on the glare-shield, the newspaper said.

“The images very clearly indicate that the Egyptian co-pilot put his telephone, tablet and bottles of perfume bought before boarding on the glare-shield,” the paper said.

“The investigators hence note a troubling parallel between the placing of these items that are fed by lithium batteries and the triggering of alarms during the flight,” it added.

The safety of lithium batteries has long been a much discussed subject, with some models banned from aircraft. Batteries in certain models of mobile devices have overheated and caught fire.

In a statement, Apple, the manufacturers of the iPhone and iPad devices used by the pilot, said it had not been contacted by "any authority investigating this tragic event", which indicated these did "not believe our products are in any way involved".

"We have not seen the report but we understand there is no evidence to link this event to Apple products. If investigators have questions for us, we would of course assist in any way we can," it said.

"We rigorously test our products to ensure they meet or exceed international safety standards."

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