EgyptAir crash: Investigators detect emergency signal from wreckage

Egypt's lead investigator said signals coming from the aircraft's fuselage will narrow down the search radius from 40 miles to three

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 26 May 2016 21:00 BST
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The crashed EgyptAir plane, an Airbus A320 registration SU-GCC, is seen here taking off from Vienna in August 2015
The crashed EgyptAir plane, an Airbus A320 registration SU-GCC, is seen here taking off from Vienna in August 2015 (AP)

Search teams have detected emergency signals from the wreckage of EgyptAir flight MS804, Egypt's lead investigator has said.

Captain Ayman Al Moqadem said signals coming from the aircraft's fuselage will narrow down the search radius from 40 miles to three, the Wall Street Journal reports

Mr Moqadem said investigators had not yet located the plane's black boxes, which could explain what brought down the Paris-to-Cairo flight as it entered Egyptian air space.

The black boxes are thought to be lying up to 3,000 metres underwater.

On Wednesday, officials investigating the cause of the crash said no technical problems were detected on the plane before it took off from Paris.

Members of the Egyptian investigation committee said the aircraft did not swerve before disappearing from radar in under a minute after entering Egyptian airspace.

Their account contradicted that of Greece's defence minister, who said the plane abruptly swerved to the left and then turned in a full circle before plummeting into the Mediterranean Sea.

A forensics official said human remains retrieved from the area where the flight crashed point to an explosion on board.

Egypt army shows objects found among debris of Egyptair plane crash

He told the Associated Press that all 80 body parts retrieved so far are small and that “there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head", adding: “The logical explanation is that an explosion brought it down...but I cannot say what caused the blast."

However, the head of Egypt's forensics authority denied there was evidence of an explosion later on Tuesday.

“Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the forensics authority,” Dr Hisham Abdel Hamid said in a statement quoted by Mena news agency.

The Egyptian military spokesman released pictures of debris that the search teams found in the sea after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean
The Egyptian military spokesman released pictures of debris that the search teams found in the sea after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean (Getty Images)

Records from the aircraft's Acars system indicated smoke may have been detected in a toilet and the avionics bay, as well as reporting faults with the autopilot and flight control system.

The cause of the disaster, which killed all 66 passengers and crew on board the flight, remains unknown.

Egypt has asked European firms to help search for the plane's black boxes.

Personal belongings and other wreckage from EgyptAir flight 804
Personal belongings and other wreckage from EgyptAir flight 804 (AP)

EgyptAir chairman Safwat Musallam said French and Italian companies were able to carry out searches at a depth of 3,000 metres.

A robotic submarine has already been deployed, along with a ship equipped with sonar, but it was unclear whether either of them can detect signals emitted by the flight recorders, lying in waters up to 10,000ft deep.

The location beacons have a battery life of 30 days.

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