Making the disclosure on Wednesday, June 1, the investigators said one of the plane’s black boxes was giving signals.
File photo: Investigators say they might have detected signals from the missing EgyptAir Flight 804
CNN reports that some specialized locator equipment on board the French vessel La Place detected a signal from the seabed in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Egyptian investigative committee said in a statement that the signal is “assumed to be from one of the data recorders”.
The Airbus A320, which had 66 people aboard, crashed in the Mediterranean on May 19 on a flight from Paris to Cairo.
Since then, authorities have been searching for wreckage and the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders, which could reveal evidence about what caused the crash.
Authorities hope to locate the data recorders, so a specialized vessel managed by the Deep Ocean Search company can then retrieve them. That vessel is set to join the search team within a week, the investigative committee said.
So far, search teams have found small pieces of debris, victims’ remains and personal effects from the plane. They haven’t found the aircraft’s fuselage.
There have been previous claims by investigators regarding having detected a signal from the plane.
Last week a lead investigator in the search said airplane manufacturer Airbus had detected signals from the plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter, a device that can manually or automatically activate at impact and will usually send a distress signal.
The signals gave investigators a more specific location to detect pings from the black boxes, state media reported.
Time is of the essence: The batteries powering the flight recorders’ locator beacons are certified to emit high-pitched signals for about 30 days after they get wet.
The data recorders have been fixtures on commercial flights around the world for decades.
The flight data recorder gathers 25 hours of technical data from the airplane’s sensors, recording several thousand distinct pieces of information.
Among the details investigators could uncover: information about the plane’s air speed, altitude, engine performance and wing positions.
The cockpit voice recorder captures sounds on the flight deck that can include conversations between pilots, warning alarms from the aircraft and background noise. By listening to the ambient sounds in a cockpit before a crash, experts can determine if a stall took place and the speed at which the plane was traveling.
But black boxes aren’t perfect. In several cases — such as the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 or the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001 — authorities had hoped to find clues in the recorders, only to discover that the data inside had been damaged or the recordings had stopped suddenly.
In the meantime, a case of terrorism and the chances on a blast aboard the aircraft have not been ruled out.
The Egyptian government has said that the plane was more likely to have been brought down by an act of terrorism than a mechanical fault.
Greece did say radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
Initial reports late on Thursday, May 19, claimed that the flight’s wreckage had been found, but those claims proved unfounded.
Greece’s lead air accident investigator Athanasios Binis said items including lifejackets found near Karpathos were not from the Airbus A320. “An assessment of the finds showed that they do not belong to an aircraft,” he said.
Speculation that the EgyptAir jet’s disappearance is due to a terrorist act is mounting as the aircraft took off from Paris, which was attacked twice by ISIS last year. Since the attacks, some airport staff in France have had security clearance revoked over fears of links to the Islamic extremists.
In a similar vein, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has reached out to the people of Egypt regarding the missing flight.
A statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, on Firday, May 20, reads in part: “President Muhammadu Buhari phoned President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt Friday evening to commiserate with him and the people of Egypt on yesterday’s EgyptAir crash which claimed many lives.
Condoling the Egyptian leader on the loss of 66 lives in the crash, President Buhari assured President Al-Sisi and the people of Egypt of the sympathy of all Nigerians as they mourn the passengers and crew of EgyptAir MS804.
President Buhari told President Al-Sisi that the thoughts and prayers of Nigerians are with the families and friends of bereaved Egyptians and other nationals who are in sorrow as a result of the tragic air crash.
The President prayed that God Almighty will comfort all those who lost relatives and friends in the crash and grant eternal rest to the souls of those who died.”