French investigators have detected signals from one of the “black box” flight recorders on the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean last month.
Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority said yesterday that the French vessel Laplace had located pings presumed to originate from one of two black boxes, according to a report in the Aviation Herald.
Another vessel is expected to join the search next week.
The flight recorders may provide clues about what happened to the EgyptAir A320, which came down in the sea on 19 May 2016, killing all 66 passengers and crew aboard. The two main theories are that it was either a bomb or a mechanical malfunction.
No terror group, or any other group, has claimed responsibility. That, along with several other factors, makes some suspect that the crash may have been caused by a sudden fire or some sort of catastrophic malfunction, rather than a deliberate act. See: Fire or malfunction may have brought down MS804
Commercial aircraft carry two “black boxes” (which are neither black nor box-shaped). One device records data from the plane and the other records the voices of the flight crew. French air accident investigation agency BEA says it is impossible to determine from the signals which one has been located in the EgyptAir search.
Safety analysts are pressing for flight recorders to be ejectable in a crash, and made to float. They also say that the locator beacon batteries should be upgraded to run for longer than the current 30 days.
Written by Peter Needham