French and Italian firms to help locate crashed EgyptAir’s black boxes

  • PTI, Cairo
  • Updated: May 26, 2016 01:08 IST
This file picture on May 21, 2016, shows a life vest from EgyptAir flight 804 in Egypt. (AP file photo)

To decode the cause of the EgyptAir plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea last week, Egypt has contracted a French and an Italian company to help locate the black boxes of the plane.

EgyptAir flight MS804 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Thursday, before it crashed into the Mediterranean Sea with all 66 passengers and crew on board presumed dead.

Egypt’s Army said on Friday that air and naval forces have found parts of the debris and some of the passengers belongings and human remains from north of the coastal city of Alexandria.

According to a technical log signed by the plane’s pilot before takeoff, the plane showed no signs of technical issues before departing from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

The aircraft technical log had been signed by an EgyptAir inspector at the French airport after he conducted a routine examination, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Al-Ahram also published a document from the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which showed that the doomed Airbus 320 jet transmitted 11 electronic messages.

The first two messages indicated that the engines were functioning properly.

The third message, which was sent around four minutes before the plane vanished from radar, indicated a rise in the temperature of the cockpit’s right-side window. The plane then continued to send messages for three more minutes before dropping off radar screens.

Earlier this week, Aviation Herald, a prominent Austria-based website specialising in air accidents, said in a report that the jet sent seven alarm messages minutes before disappearing indicating smoke on board, both in the lavatory as well as in the aircraft’s avionics area underneath the cockpit.

Officials say this data is insufficient on its own to unravel the mystery of the crash.

Egypt and France have deployed vessels in the Mediterranean in search of the plane’s black box recorders, which could be critical in identifying the cause of the disaster.

The depth of the water in the area where the plane is believed to have crashed presents a challenge to search efforts.

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