EgyptAir flight 804: French navy ship joins search amid report of signal detected

LONDON. KAZINFORM Vigils have been held in Cairo for the victims of EgyptAir flight 804 as a French navy ship headed to join the deep-sea search in the Mediterranean for the main wreckage and flight recorders.

France’s BEA air crash investigation agency said the naval survey vessel Laplace had left Corsica and was heading towards the search zone north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria.

A week after the Airbus A320 crashed carrying 66 people, investigators still had no clear picture of its final moments, with only scattered floating wreckage and some human remains found

Search teams were working against the clock to find the two flight recorders that would offer vital clues on the fate of flight 804. Acoustic signals that help pinpoint the boxes in deep water stop after about 30 days.

On Friday, reports quoting Egypt’s lead investigator, Ayman al-Moqadem, via the state newspaper al-Ahram said a radio signal had been received from an emergency locator transmitter usually situated in the rear of the aircraft, potentially helping to narrow the search area.

The transmitter, known as an ELT, sends out a transmission that can be picked up by satellites in the international search-and-rescue network when an aircraft is in an accident. It is separate from the underwater locator beacons (ULB) or “pingers” attached to the flight recorders, which send out acoustic rather than radio signals and are designed to be more easily detected underwater.

Doubts were cast on whether an ELT on flight 804 could have survived or sent signals from underwater. John Cox, a former A320 pilot and chief executive of Washington-based Safety Operating Systems, expressed caution about the reported signal from the sunken wreckage.

“There is a low likelihood the ELT [emergency locating transmitter] would survive, and radio doesn’t work as well as acoustic signals underwater,” he said, The Guardian says.

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