Thursday May 19, 2016
Manitoba friend of EgyptAir co-pilot searches for answers after crash
Officials are still trying to determine whether the EgyptAir plane crash on Thursday was due to a technical failure or an act of terrorism.
Flight MS804 was carrying 66 people when it departed from Paris on Wednesday evening on the way to Cairo. Soon after entering Egyptian airspace, the aircraft swerved, disappeared from radar, and plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. Two Canadians were on board.
Mostafa Ezzo is a regional jet pilot based in Winnipeg. But he's also the friend of the co-pilot, 24-year-old Mohamed Mamdouh, who was on-board.
"He was one of my best friends," Ezzo tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann. "He was a funny person, always jokes, and he works very hard."
Ezzo went to flight school with Mamdouh and they lived together in Egypt for a year during their study. For a first officer position, Ezzo notes that Mamdouh had already accumulated close to 3,000 hours.
"He had very good experience on that airbus," Ezzo explains.
Egypt's minister of civil aviation, Sherif Fathy, has said that terrorism was more likely than technical failure -- to be the cause of the crash. But Ezzo says he is still waiting for evidence before he speculates on what went wrong.
"Basically we have a lot of options to go through," Ezzo explains. "The possibility here is the transponder went off. How it went off? That we don't know."
Press Release— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) May 19, 2016
EGYPTAIR resource stated that the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has just received an official letter.
from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declaring the finding of wreckage of the missing aircraft No. MS 804— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) May 19, 2016
Reports from the Greek Defence Minister suggest that there was a critical two-minute time frame, where the plane swerved 90 degrees to the left, and began to plummet from 11,000 metres in the air. It then took a sharp right turn, disappeared from radar and crashed.
"I'm not an airbus pilot, so it's very hard to explain," Ezzo cautions. "The only possibility that I can guess in this situation is an engine fire or a wing fire."
He says information from the Central Fault Display System, which records and sends technical problems to the airline company, will be crucial to piecing together what happened.
"If it was a technical problem then EgyptAir will have the answers but they haven't provided us with anything yet," Ezzo adds.
Whatever may have happened, Ezzo is confident that his friend would have done everything he could to resolve the problem. As he waits for more information to be released Ezzo says his thoughts are on the loss of his friend and the community of pilots who knew him.
"He was one of the best pilots I've trained with," Ezzo explains. "Basically we're just cheering each other up and being there for his family, his father and his sister."