EgyptAir plane wreckage found in several locations, investigators say

Wreckage of an EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight that crashed in the Mediterranean last month killing all 66 people on board has been found in "several main locations," the Egyptian-led investigation committee said on Wednesday.

The wreckage was pinpointed by a seabed search and retrieval vessel which joined the search last week. Investigators have seen photographs from one of the locations, the committee added.

EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean some 290 kilometres north of the Egyptian coast on May 19. The reason for the crash remain unknown.

The search team and investigators on board the retrieval vessel, the John Lethbridge, will now draw up a map of the locations, and the investigation committee is meeting to agree on its next steps, it said.

Wednesday's discovery comes two weeks after a French navy vessel detected signals from one of the plane's so-called black boxes.

The boxes, which record flight data and sounds from the cockpit, will be crucial to working out why the plane came down. The investigation committee earlier this week said they were expected to continue transmitting a signal until June 24.

The committee has now also confirmed earlier reports from Greek authorities that the plane swerved to the left and then spun around rightwards in a circle immediately before crashing. 

It was not immediately clear whether any of the wreckage located on Wednesday was in the same area where the signals from the black box were detected.

Search and rescue teams have so far recovered small pieces of debris and body parts, which are being examined by investigators.

Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy has said that terrorist action appeared a more likely cause than a mechanical failure.

The crash came almost six months after a Russian passenger jet broke up in mid-air shortly after take-off from the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

Russian authorities said that the incident was caused by a bomb. The Islamic State extremist group, which operates in Sinai, claimed responsibility and published a photograph of a soft drink can which it said had been filled with explosives and smuggled onto the flight.

Egyptian authorities have yet to complete their investigation into that crash, although President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi has said it was an act of terrorism.

The Russian plane crash devastated Egypt's tourism industry, already suffering from perceptions of instability since the 2011 uprising that unseated dictator Hosny Mubarak.

Last update: Thu, 16/06/2016 - 00:31
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