Tuesday, May 24, 2016

EgyptAir plane crash investigators use underwater 'submarine drone' as they hunt missing black boxes

Ships and planes have already found body parts, personal belongings and debris from the Airbus 320, but have yet to locate the black boxes

The underwater drone will help locate the two missing black boxes

Investigators of the EgyptAir plane crash have sent a robot submarine to join the hunt for the aircraft's two missing black box recorders.

The Airbus 320, flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board on Thursday. 

The search ship carrying the r.o.v search device "Burulus"

Ships and planes scouring the sea north of Alexandria have found body parts, personal belongings and debris from the commercial jet.

The search r.o.v ready to dive underwater to the deep to start searching for any wreckage process

However, they are still trying to locate the black box recorders that could shed light on the cause of the crash.

The black boxes could shed light on what occurred before the plane went down

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that underwater equipment from Egypt's offshore oil industry was being brought in to help the search.


"They have a submarine that can reach 3,000 metres 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."

An oil ministry source said Sisi was referring to a drone submarine used mostly to maintain offshore oil rigs.

It was not clear whether the vessel would be able to help locate the black boxes, or would be used in later stages of the operation.

66 people lost their lives in the tragic plane crash

Air crash investigation experts said search teams had around 30 days to listen for pings sent out once every second from beacons attached to the two black boxes.

At this stage of the search they would typically use acoustic hydrophones, bringing in more advanced robots later to scan the seabed and retrieve any objects once they have been found.

Separately, the US Navy's Sixth Fleet said one of its patrol aircraft supporting the search had spotted more than 100 pieces of debris positively identified as having come from an aircraft, and passed the data to the Egyptian Navy.

EgyptAir flight 804 from Paris to Cairo vanished off radar screens early on Thursday as it entered Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean.

French investigators said the plane sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board shortly before it disappeared.

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," 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 plane disappeared on Thursday

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.

EgyptAir has told relatives of the victims that recovering and identifying bodies from the sea could take weeks, adding to the pain and uncertainty of grieving families.

Samar Ezzedine, 27, was one of the cabin crew on flight 804. Her mother Amal has sat in the lobby of a hotel overlooking Cairo Airport, still waiting for her daughter to come back.

"She is missing, who hosts a funeral for a missing person?" she murmured.

The Egyptian Muslim missed Egypt Air MS804 pilot was honored from  both Christians and Muslims as a man with sweet kind manners loves life

Samar's aunt, Mona, said Amal was reluctant to go home or even move away from the hotel door. "She doesn't want to believe it ... I told her to switch off her phone, but she said: What if Samar calls?"

An EgyptAir union appealed to Sisi to allow death certificates to be issued for the victims, to avoid the usual five-year delay in the case of missing people which leaves relatives in a legal limbo, including over pensions.

In his speech on Sunday, Sisi said the investigation would not be over quickly, but promised it would be transparent.

"This could take a long time but no one can hide these things. As soon as the results are out, people will be informed," he told ministers and parliamentarians in the port city of Damietta.