Search team salvages EgyptAir flight’s voice recorder



The cockpit voice recorder from crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 has been found by search teams who had to salvage the device over several stages as it was damaged, the Egyptian investigation committee has said.

It said a specialist vessel owned by Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search had been able to recover the memory unit from the black box.

“The vessel’s equipment was able to salvage the part that contains the memory unit, which is considered the most important part of the recording device,” the statement said.

Egypt’s public prosecutor was informed and ordered that the recovered device, one of two black boxes on the plane, be handed to the Egyptian investigating team for analysis.

The device is now being transferred from the John Lethbridge vessel to the coastal city of Alexandria where representatives from the public prosecution and investigators are waiting to receive it, the statement said.

Yesterday’s announcement came a day after the committee said the John Lethbridge, which was contracted by the government to join the search for the plane debris and flight recorders, had spotted and obtained images from the wreckage of the EgyptAir plane.

France’s aviation safety agency, BEA, has stated that the aircraft had transmitted messages showing smoke inside the cabin and a fault in a flight control unit before crashing. Egypt’s investigation committee added earlier this week that radar images showed the plane swerved violently and changed direction, then turned 360 degrees before crashing.

The crash killed all 66 passengers and crew. These included 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Canadians, two Iraqis and people from Belgium, Britain, Algeria, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Portugal.

No group has claimed the crash as a terror attack. Egypt’s Aviation Minister, Sherif Fathi, told a news conference he did not want to draw any conclusions prematurely, but “the possibility of having a different action or a terror attack, is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure”.

Egypt’s aviation safety record has been in question following the crash of Metrojet 7K9268 in the Sinai peninsula in October 2015; all 224 people on board were killed. ISIS’s branch in Sinai later claimed responsibility for the attack, displaying a picture of the drinks can they say was used to smuggle a bomb on board the craft.

While Germany recently lifted its ban on direct flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, the UK and several other European nations have yet to do so.

Egypt hired the British firm ControlRisks to conduct a security review of airports in Sharm el-Sheikh, Marsa Allem and Cairo following the crash, part of ongoing efforts to restore confidence in Egypt’s security. Tourism, once a key part of Egypt’s economy, has been decimated by the Metrojet and EgyptAir crashes, despite continued efforts to find out what brought down MS804.

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