Signals received by French vessel likely from MS804 black box

Ahmed Abbas
4 Min Read

Signals were received, from what is likely one of the black boxes of EgyptAir flight MS804, by the devices on the French vessel La Place, which is participating in the search for the crashed aeroplane, the Egyptian investigation committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

The signal came from within the narrowed search area of the Mediterranean Sea.

Authorities are now expanding the search to find the black boxes by utilising the John Lethbridge ship owned by the company Deep Ocean Search (DOS) that will join the team in a week.

On 19 May, EgyptAir flight MS804, flying from Paris to Cairo, crashed into the Mediterranean, claiming the lives of all 66 people on board.

The investigation committee received a satellite report showing that an electronic message was sent from the aeroplane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), which sends an automated message in case of a crash or if the aeroplane becomes submerged in water.

The committee presented the coordinates of the message to search teams so they can narrow down the search area.

The ELT of the Airbus A320 is manufactured by Honeywell International and designed to aid in the detection and location of the aircraft in distress.

Authorities are still searching for the two black boxes, which will stop emitting signals 30 days after the crash.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday with DOS to perform the search and retrieval process of the two data recorders of the crashed EgyptAir aeroplane.

DOS is an international company that provides assistance in ultra-deep water activities and uses advanced technology, which will assist in locating the black box.

La Place is participating in the hunt for the black box equipped with devices from ALSEAMAR, company which specialises in identifying wrecks.

An Airbus official said that the EgyptAir tragedy has made it important to consider using black boxes that can pop up from the tail before an accident.

“If we have a deployable recorder it will be much easier to find,” Airbus Executive Vice President for Engineering Charles Champion said at a media event.

“We have been working on that and this only reinforces our overall approach,” Champion added.

Meanwhile, EgyptAir received a false alarm about a bomb threat on its flight MS960 carrying 243 passengers heading from Cairo to Bangkok on Tuesday evening, according to a statement released by the airliner.

Pre-flight security checks were carried out again on the aeroplane and all passengers were evacuated, which resulted in a three-hour delay before its cancellation.

Nothing abnormal was detected on board.

The false alarm did not identify whether the bomb was on flight MS960 or on another flight heading from Bangkok to Cairo. Therefore, the Egyptian authorities alerted their Thai counterparts who searched the aeroplane in Bangkok airport before allowing it to take off.

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Ahmed Abbas is a journalist at DNE’s politics section. He previously worked as Egypt based reporter for, and interned as a broadcast journalist at Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Abbas is a fellow of Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. He holds a Master’s Degree of Journalism and New Media from Jordan Media Institute. He was awarded by the ICFJ for best public service reporting in 2013, and by the German foreign office for best feature in 2014.
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