Bad News

“The Egyptian military has released images of items found during the search in the Mediterranean Sea for missing Egypt Air flight MS804.”
 
See EgyptAir: Images released of debris found in plane search
One of the unfortunate consequences of decades of science/technology under my belt is the ability to analyze data for snippets of information that others might miss. Consider these pictures of the wreckage of this airliner found in the Mediterranean Sea:

Observation Conclusion
There are many parts of objects rather than whole objects. High-speed impact
There isn’t much there. The plane likely broke up at high altitude with multiple clusters of debris and this was only one.
Only one life-vest… Despite more than 100 being on the plane, only one being found suggests this cluster came from a rather small piece of the plane, like the tail or nose.

It’s possible this is only one boatload of debris from a much larger sample but if the above conclusions are correct, the chances of finding substantial parts of the plane in recoverable condition are poor. If the black boxes ping they might be recovered to supply more information but this sample suggests debris will be sparsely found on the ocean floor. Collection would be time-consuming and expensive, but it’s probably the only hope of determining causation. The ACARS data suggest smoke appeared very shortly before the crash but that still doesn’t mean a bomb was the cause. It’s possible fuel or lithium batteries caused a quick devastating fire preventing control.

I think it could be months or years before the cause will be known unless explosive residue is discovered on the stuff already recovered. This conclusion could be revised if soon much more wreckage is found. That should have happened already as there was radar tracking down to 10K feet. If there was a high altitude breakup it could take weeks to find all the flotsam and that might prevent a quick location of submerged wreckage.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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