Search operations for the EgyptAir jet that went missing last month have discovered wreckage in the Mediterranean sea.
A French naval ship – the Laplace – detected one of the flight recorders last month after which an American vessel, the John Lethbridge, located and obtained images of the wreckage.
The discovery comes after investigators warned on Monday that signals from the plane’s black boxes would stop operating by the end of the month.
The area of sea where it crashed is believed to be about 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) deep and its flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder should have had enough battery power to emit signals for four to five weeks.
The Paris-Cairo flight had crashed on May 19 between the Greek island of Crete and the Egyptian coast, killing all 66 people aboard. The cause of the crash remains unclear, although a terror attack has not been ruled out.
The Laplace will leave the operation now, having finished its mission in agreement with Egyptian authorities i.e., finding the signal using acoustic detection systems to listen for the “pings” emitted by the flight recorders, France’s aviation safety agency said.
The agency further said the aircraft transmitted automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit minutes before disappearing from radar screens.
Investigators were able to narrow down the search site thanks to an emergency signal sent via satellite by the plane’s locator transmitter when it hit the Mediterranean.
Among the wreckage are pieces that make up the cabin.
On board were 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Iraqis, two Canadians, and citizens from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. They included a boy and two babies.
Seven crew and three security personnel were also on board.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack within hours, but there has been no such claim linked to the EgyptAir crash.
IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and has claimed attacks in both France and Egypt.
Some wreckage was retrieved from the Mediterranean last month, along with belongings of passengers on board flight MS804, but no bodies have been found so far.
The plane crashed between the Greek island of Crete and the Egyptian coast after disappearing suddenly from radar screens.
In October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after IS said it downed the Russian airliner over Sinai with a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled on the plane.