Free Press Journal

Egypt hires 2 foreign firms to find crashed jet’s black boxes


Cairo: Egypt has contracted two foreign companies to help locate the black boxes of the doomed EgyptAir plane to find out what caused the aircraft to crash in the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board.

EgyptAir said that it has sough help of a French and an Italian companies in the search for the black boxes. 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.