French navy ship joins search for black boxes from ill-fated EgyptAir plane
A French maritime gendarme boards the French Navy's EV Jacoubet as it prepares to leave the Mediterranean port of Toulon - REUTERS

CAIRO: A French ship arrived Monday to help in the search for debris and the black boxes from the EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed over the Mediterranean last week, state news agency MENA reported, citing a statement from the French navy.

The ship will mainly focus on detecting signals from the plane’s data recorder at a depth of about 5,000 feet, said the statement, adding that the vessel is equipped with sonar that can pick up the underwater sounds emitted by the recorders.

The vessel left France’s Mediterranean port of Toulon Friday with a crew of 90, including two judicial investigators, according to the statement.

The search area is roughly halfway between Egypt’s Alexandria and Crete Island.

Ships and planes from the U.S., Britain, Cyprus, France and Greece are taking part in the search for the debris from the Airbus 320, which crashed 290 kilometers north of Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria Thursday with 56 passengers and 10 crew members on board.

It is unclear what caused the plane to crash in the final minutes before it disappeared off radar at around 2.45 a.m. local time Thursday.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said in a statement Sunday that an investigation could take a long time but that the cause of crash will eventually be revealed.

“Until now all scenarios are possible. So please, it is very important that we do not talk and say there is a specific scenario,” said Sisi.

On Monday, Egypt sent a robot submarine from an offshore oil industry to join the search, Al Ahram reported.

On Saturday, the Egyptian military posted the first images from search operations of what it said was debris from the missing plane and some the passengers’ belongings.

An Egyptian aviation committee tasked with investigating the cause of the crash said that “it is far too soon to make a judgment over the reason that caused the crash.”

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