Investigators have begun examining the black box flight recorders of an EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean last month, authorities said Sunday, according to AFP.
The Airbus A320 operating Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar screens between the Greek island of Crete and the north coast of Egypt on May 19. There were 66 people on board.
International air and naval teams discovered debris of the plane less than two days later, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Alexandria. Among the wreckage: personal belongings of passengers and crew – as well as human remains. A Cairo team is currently carrying out DNA tests on the remains to determine if they belong to those aboard
Two weeks ago, the French vessel Laplace picked up signals from the downed airplane’s black boxes.
"Black boxes" are the crucial components of any aircraft which record the plane's movements and technical settings at any given time in the flight data recorder, as well as audio from the cockpit in the cockpit voice recorder.
The Egypt-led investigative committee began examining the black boxes on Saturday in the presence of representatives from France and the United States, where the engine was made, said Egypt's civil aviation authority, according to AFP.
Both of the devices were damaged and had to be raised from the seabed in several stages, said the authority.
Their memory units were removed at the civil aviation ministry's labs in Cairo and were undergoing testing, it said.
The data on them is to be unloaded, before it is analyzed in a procedure that is expected to last several weeks.
If badly damaged, the black boxes would be sent abroad for repairs, otherwise the work could be done in Egypt, the authority has said.
Investigators have said it is too soon to determine what caused the disaster although a terror attack has not been ruled out.
That speculation is based on previous threats to the plane, the proximity of hundreds of maintenance workers to the plane at four high-risk airports in the 48 hours before the crash, and an odd trajectory recorded on the flight – as well as the lack of emergency warnings before the plane was spotted with a flash and a fireball.