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Investigators: EgyptAir fire, crash may have been caused by overheating cellphone

By Eric DuVall
Investigators: EgyptAir fire, crash may have been caused by overheating cellphone
A traveller walks past the the EgyptAir counter in the departure hall of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, a day after Flight MS804 crashed. French authorities are investigating whether the copilot's overheating cellphone or tablet caused a fire that brought down the plane, killing all 66 people aboard. File Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

PARIS, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- French investigators examining what caused EgyptAir Flight MS804 to crash in the Mediterranean Sea have singled out the co-pilot's iPhone and iPad as potential sources of a fire that caused the plane to go down.

According to reports in the French press, investigators have isolated video of the co-pilot placing the devices, along with bottles of perfume he had purchased at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, above the dashboard on the glare shield prior to takeoff.

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Egyptian authorities have said they believe terrorism caused the plane to crash, citing unconfirmed reports that some of the victims' bodies contained the residue of explosives. French authorities have disputed that allegation, citing data from the Airbus 320's data and voice recorders, which showed a disturbance on the right side of the cockpit, next to where the co-pilot was seated, followed by a smoke detector being activated in a bathroom behind the co-pilot's seat. There was also a verbal order from the pilot to the co-pilot to extinguish a fire prior to the plane dropping off radar.

French authorities have not yet said for certain what they believe caused the plane to crash, killing all 66 people aboard.

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Like all mobile electronic devices, Apple products are powered by lithium ion batteries which can catch fire if they overheat. An Apple spokesman told the International Business Times the company was not aware of the potential break in the EgyptAir crash investigation, but that the company's products are manufactured to exceed all international aviation safety regulations.

Airlines have banned carrying a smartphone made by Apple's competitor Samsung, the Galaxy Note 7, after its lithium ion batteries were found to spontaneously explode or catch fire.

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