Egypt intensifies search for EgyptAir flight data recorders
The Egyptian government on Sunday deployed a submarine to hunt for the black box flight recorders of the EgyptAir plane that crashed in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that underwater equipment from Egypt’s offshore oil industry was being brought in to help the search.
Al-Sisi said: “They have a submarine that can reach 3,000 meters under water,” he said in a televised speech. “It moved today in the direction of the plane crash site because we are working hard to salvage the black boxes.”
Ships scouring the sea north of Alexandria for three days have found body parts, personal belongings and wreckage from the Airbus 320, but are still trying to locate the recorders, which could shed light on the cause of Thursday’s crash.
French investigators said at the weekend that the plane sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board shortly before it disappeared off radar screens.
The signals did not indicate what caused the smoke or fire, and aviation experts have not ruled out either deliberate sabotage or a technical fault, but they offered early clues as to what unfolded in the moments before the crash.
“Until now all scenarios are possible,” Al-Sisi said in his first public remarks on the crash. “So please, it is very important that we do not talk and say there is a specific scenario.”
The crash was the third blow since October to hit Egypt’s travel industry, still reeling from political unrest following the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.
A suspected Islamic State bombing brought down a Russian airliner after it took off from Sharm al-Sheikh airport in late October, killing all 224 people on board, and an EgyptAir plane was hijacked in March by a man wearing a fake suicide belt.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Sharm al-Sheikh bombing within hours but a purported statement from the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, distributed on Saturday, made no mention of the crash.
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