Accident on 3 January 2004 off the coast of Sharm el-Sheikh
On 3 January 2004 at 02 h 45 UTC (04 h 45 local time), the airplane registered SU-ZCF, a Boeing 737-300, Flash Airlines flight FSH 604 crashed into the sea, off the coast of Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) leading to the death of the 148 people on board including 134 French passengers. The accident occurred two and a half minutes after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (SSH). The flight was a passenger charter flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), France with a stopover in Cairo for refuelling.
France immediately participated in the sea searches, coordinated by the BEA, and brought in heavy equipment and specialized military and civil equipment. These operations were conducted from 3 January to 5 February 2004.
In accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the BEA and its American homologue, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) participated in the technical investigation led by the Egyptian civil aviation authorities to determine the circumstances and the causes of the accident. An Egyptian investigation commission was set up for this purpose.
During the sea search operations, the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), submerged at a depth of 1 000 m, were recovered respectively on 17 January and 18 January. They were transferred to the President of the Egyptian Investigation Commission, Mr. Shaker Kelada, and read out on the premises of the Egyptian authorities in Cairo with the collaboration of American and French investigators. Analysis of the CVR allowed the correlation of information with that contained in the FDR. The marine searches continued. Parts of the airplane were recovered. Ten BEA investigators relayed each other during this period.
Investigative work was undertaken in association with the progress meetings in Egypt. Flight simulator work was organized in France, with the support of Air France and in the United States with the collaboration of Boeing to understand the changes to the airplane and the functioning of the on-board systems. An interim report was published by the Egyptian Investigation Commission on 11 November 2004. An information meeting for the families of the French victims was organized by the BEA on 20 November at the French Air and Space Museum with the participation of Mr. Kelada.
Throughout 2005, the investigators worked on data analysis for the publication of the Final Report, presenting the analysis results and conclusions on the causes of the accident, as well as safety recommendations intended to prevent further accidents.
On 3 January 2006, the BEA gave its comments which were appended to the Final Report.
On 27 March 2006, in Cairo, the Egyptian authorities made public the Final Report.
On 29 March 2006, the president of the Egyptian investigation commission, Mr. Shaker Kelada, went to Le Bourget to present the Final Report to the families of the French victims.
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