Egypt is seeking the assistance of two companies, one French and one Italian, in the search for the black boxes of the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, the airline’s chairman said on Wednesday.
EgyptAir flight 804 crashed on May 19 with 66 people on board including 30 Egyptians and 15 from France, and nearly a week later investigators have no clear picture of the plane’s final moments.
EgyptAir chairman, Safwat Moslem, did not name the companies involved, but he told a news conference they were able to search at a depth of 3,000 metres.
The plane and its black box recorders, which could explain what brought down the Paris-to-Cairo flight as it entered Egyptian air space, have not been located.
The black boxes are believed to be lying in up to 3,000 metres of water, on the edge of the range for hearing the signals, emitted once a second.
According to Reuters, maritime search experts say this means acoustic hydrophones must be towed in the water at depths of up to 2,000 metres in order to have the best chance of picking up the signals, which should last for 30 days.
Until recently, aviation sources say, the US Navy or its private contractor Phoenix International were considered among the only sources for equipment needed to search on the correct frequency for black box pingers at such depths.
The US Navy said on Tuesday it had not been asked for help.
Sources within the Egyptian investigation committee said earlier on Wednesday that the jet had not shown any sign of technical problems before taking off from Paris.
On Tuesday an Egyptian forensics official and investigation sources said human remains retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir flight suggest that there was an explosion on board the plane, although no traces of explosives have been detected.