Graffiti warning “we will bring this plane down” was once daubed on the downed EgyptAir aeroplane, it has emerged.
The ominous warning appeared in Arabic on the underside of the Airbus plane around two years ago in what was reportedly a protest against Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
The MS804 night flight from Paris to Cairo was carrying 66 passengers, including one British man, crashed into the Mediterranean sea in the early hours of Thursday morning.
There were no survivors.
Three EgyptAir security officials said the threatening graffiti had been the work of aviation workers at Cairo airport and is thought to have played on the phonetic similarity between the last two letters in the plane’s registration, SU-GCC, and President Sisi’s surname.
Three unnamed officials told the New York Times the airline had since stepped up security measures in response to the political turmoil following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi’s government in 2013 and a terror attack on a Russian Metrojet flight which killed 224 people in October last year.
EgyptAir has previously fired staff for their political leanings, stepped up crew searches and introduced more inflight security guards.
Three such guards were onboard the MS804 flight when it crashed.
It comes after data from the flight emerged showing a fire in the lavatory and main electronics bay may have broken out before the crash.
Two messages sent to EgyptAir’s engineering base from the plane via the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (Acars) indicated there was smoke on board moments before it fell from the sky.
Acars reports are short text messages sent between an aircraft and ground crew to let them know if they need to address any problems when the plane lands.
The plane made no distress call after it lurched erratically in the sky at 38,000ft before going into a nosedive.
Both pilots may have been incapacitated or too busy trying to save the plane to send a Mayday signal.
The Egyptian military has published the first photos of the wreckage from the aircraft showing mangled plane parts, seats and passengers’ possessions.
One picture showed part of the plane’s metal body and another showed what looks like an uninflated lifejacket and part of a child’s bag or blanket.
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