Egypt hires two firms in search for black boxes

Egypt's largest state newspaper also reported that EgyptAir flight 804 transmitted 11 "electronic messages" starting at 2109 GMT. (Reuters)

The chief of EgyptAir says Egypt has contracted two foreign companies to help locate the flight data recorders of the carrier's plane that crashed last week in the Mediterranean, killing all 66 passengers and crew on board.

Safwat Masalam said on Wednesday that a French and an Italian company will be working with Egyptian search teams to try and find the black boxes, which could give clues as to what happened in the final minutes of the flight. He didn't identify the companies.

Earlier, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said a submarine would join the search.

Ships and planes from Britain, Cyprus, France, Greece and the US are also participating in the search for the debris from the aircraft, including the black boxes. Some wreckage, including human remains, has already been recovered.

Egyptian state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram said late on Tuesday the crashed EgyptAir jet showed no technical issues before taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris according to an Aircraft Technical Log signed by its pilot before takeoff.

Al-Ahram published a scan of the log on its website.

Egypt's largest state newspaper also reported that EgyptAir flight 804 transmitted 11 "electronic messages" starting at 2109 GMT on May 18. The first two indicated that the engines were functional.

The flight path of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo. (Map: Flightradar24.com/Handout via Reuters)

The flight path of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo. (Map: Flightradar24.com/Handout via Reuters)

The third message came at 0026 GMT on May 19 and showed a rise in the temperature of the co-pilot's window. The plane kept transmitting messages for the next three minutes before vanishing off radar screens, the Al-Ahram report said.

EgyptAir flight 804 vanished from radar screens last Thursday, with 66 passengers and crew on board.

An image grab from Egypt's military on May 21, 2016 shows some debris that the search teams found in the sea after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean. (AFP)

An image grab from Egypt's military on May 21, 2016 shows some debris that the search teams found in the sea after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 crashed in the Mediterranean. (AFP)

Egypt's head of forensics denied reports that an initial examination of human remains belonging to victims aboard the EgyptAir jet pointed towards an explosion, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

"Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the Forensics Authority," MENA quoted Hesham Abdelhamid as saying in a statement.

Relatives and friends of the cabin crew and passengers, who were on board the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, attend a mourning ceremony on May 22, 2016 at a Church in Cairo. (AFP)

Relatives and friends of the cabin crew and passengers, who were on board the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, attend a mourning ceremony on May 22, 2016 at a Church in Cairo. (AFP)

Hours earlier, the Associated Press quoted a senior Egyptian forensics official who claimed that human remains retrieved from the crash site suggest there was an explosion on board that may have brought down the aircraft.

AP said the official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to release the information.

He said all 80 pieces brought to Cairo so far are small and that “there isn’t even a whole body part, like an arm or a head.” The official adds that “the logical explanation is that it was an explosion.”

All 66 people on board were killed when the Airbus 320 crashed in the Mediterranean early Thursday while en route from Paris to Cairo.

Investigators are still searching for Airbus A320's two black boxes on the seabed as they seek answers as to why the aircraft came down early on Thursday.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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