Cairo, Jun 23: The damaged black box flight recorders of an EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean last month are to be sent to France for repairs, the Egyptian investigative committee said today.
It said the memory units were damaged from the two recorders recovered from the seabed almost a month after the crash of the Airbus A320. Investigators hope the recorders will reveal the cause of the May 19 crash of flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, in which 66 people were killed.
"The memory units of the two flights recorders were damaged," the investigative committee said in a statement. It said members of the panel would travel to France next week "with the electronic circuits of the two black boxes to have them repaired in laboratories of the (French air safety agency) BEA and to eliminate salt deposits".
The repaired units would be returned to Cairo for analysis in Egypt's aviation ministry laboratories, the committee said. It also said that French forensic doctors would join their Egyptian counterparts to take part in the recovery operations of body remains at the site of the crash, in which 30 Egyptian passengers and 15 French nationals were among the dead.
The investigative committee began examining the black boxes last Saturday in the presence of representatives from France and the United States, where the engine was made. The data on the boxes are being unloaded, before they are fully analysed in a procedure that is expected to last several weeks.
Investigators have said it is too early to determine what caused the plane to crash, although a terror attack has not been ruled out. France's aviation safety agency has said the aircraft transmitted automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit minutes before it disappeared.
Egyptian investigators have confirmed the aircraft had made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before hitting the sea. The crash came after the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula last October that killed all 224 people on board.