The EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed in the Mediterranean could have been downed by a smuggled Lockerbie-style timed bomb, it’s feared.
Investigators are looking into whether a device was placed on the Airbus A320 from Paris to Cairo before it went missing with 66 people on board, including one Brit, in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Wreckage from the plane , which had been flying 10 miles inside Egyptian airspace when it made “sudden swerves”, has since been discovered near the Greek island of Karpathos.
The plane, which had previously stopped in Eritrea and Tunisia, plunged 22,000 ft while spinning at 360 degrees before disappearing off radar.
A British dad-of-two, Richard Osman, is feared to be among those travelling on the plane when it crashed.
Investigators are looking into whether a Lockerbie-style device was placed on the aircraft in Tunis or Asmara before it landed in Paris.
Here are five theories as to why the plane crashed:
1. A bomb was planted at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. However, this is thought to be unlikely as security there is unprecedented in the wake of the Paris attacks.
2. A very complex and sophisticated device planted in Cairo on two timers. The first timer kicks in close to take off in Egypt and starts a barometric pressure device when it lands in Paris. When the pressure decreases as the plane starts to land over the Mediterranean, a second timer goes off, causing the explosion as in the Lockerbie disaster.
3. Catastrophic engine failure .
4. Taken out by accident in a very crowded sky where Russian, Syrian, British, American and the Arab Air Force are operating.
5. Crew or passenger initiated the bomb.
Aeronautics specialist Gérard Feldzer admitted the chances of a mechanical malfunction were slim.
He said: “It’s a modern plane, the incident happened in mid-flight in extremely stable conditions.
“The quality of the maintenance and the quality of the plane are not in question in this incident.”
Air travel expert Julian Bray said no alert being made could mean the airliner suffered a “catastrophic failure” possibly as a result of an explosion.
“There’s a lot of concentrated focus on terrorist issues around Paris,” he added.
“One has to be cautious about drawing conclusions. It would not have needed to be a large device – if it was a terrorist-related failure – to lose cabin pressure.”
European air traffic network manager Eurocontrol said there were no weather issues at the time of the plane losing contact.