Egyptian investigators have confirmed that there was smoke detected on board the fatal EgyptAir MS804 flight minutes before it crashed after extracting data from one of the aircraft's black boxes. The flight plunged into the Mediterranean Sea as it travelled from Paris to Cairo on 19 May with all 66 people declared dead.

Egypt's Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee has been assessing one of the voice and flight data recorders, also known as black boxes. Both of the two black boxes on board were recovered by specialist teams from a depth of around 3,000m (9,800ft) in the Mediterranean Sea.

Although the cause of the crash is yet to be established automated electronic messages sent by the plane had indicated that the planes' smoke detectors went off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit just minutes before the plane disappeared.

The data recorded on the black box being analysed by the Egyptians is consistent with those messages, investigators said. A second black box based in the cockpit, is still being repaired by experts in Paris, say the BBC.

The Egyptian investigation committee also said that part of the front section of the aircraft's wreckage "showed sign of high temperature damage" and soot.

"Preliminary information shows that the entire flight is recorded on the FDR (Flight Data Recorder)," a statement said. "Recorded data is showing consistency with ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) messages of lavatory and avionics smoke."

The FDR contains crucial information on the aircraft's altitude and engine with ACARS transmitting short messages between aircraft and ground stations. The first message, sent at 2.26am Cairo time, read: "ANTI ICE R WINDOW", indicating a problem with the heater for the co-pilot's window.

This was followed by six more messages two over window sensors and two mentioning smoke. The smoke detectors can also be triggered by condensation that can occur in the event of sudden decompression.

The last two messages, sent at 2.29am, indicated problems with the autopilot and the flight control system. The plane's last transponder broadcast was made four minutes later.

On June 28 French prosecutors opened an investigation into the possible manslaughter of the 66 dead people aboard flight MS804. They believe that as it stands there is no evidence the aircraft was downed by an act of terrorism.

EgyptAir MS804 blackbox
A flight recorder retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 has confirmed the presence of smoke on board the flightReuters