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Once again media sources and politicians are speculating on the cause of the crash which killed 66 passengers and crew. While the flight recorders have not yet been found and may be almost two miles beneath the sea floor, some clues have been forthcoming from data transmitted by the planes Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, which sends messages between planes and ground facilities. ACARS sent several information reports of smoke on board the aircraft minutes before it started its quick descent.
ACARS reported problems with an anti-ice window in the cockpit, a sliding window in the cockpit, smoke in the lavatory, smoke in the avionics compartment below the cockpit, a fixed window, the autopilot and the flight control system. It suggests an incendiary device located near the cockpit, but it also could have been something mechanical like a short circuit.
The Aviation Herald reports:
On May 20th 2016 The Aviation Herald received information from three independent channels, that ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) messages with following content were received from the aircraft:
00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
00:26Z 561200 R SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR
00:26Z 2600 SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE
00:27Z 2600 AVIONICS SMOKE
00:28Z 561100 R FIXED WINDOW SENSOR
00:29Z 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT
00:29Z 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT
no further ACARS messages were received.
Early May 21st 2016 the French BEA confirmed there were ACARS messages just prior to break down of communications warning however that they are insufficient to understand the causes of the accident until flight data or cockpit voice recorders have been found. Priority as of current is to find the wreckage and the recorders.
In the meantime speculation continues. However, one person is absolutely certain he knows the cause. Quoting Donald Trump as per ABC News:
"A plane got blown out of the sky," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said at a fundraiser in Lawrenceville, N.J., tonight. "And if anything, if anybody thinks it wasn’t blown out of the sky, you are 100 percent wrong, folks. OK? You're 100 percent wrong."