EgyptAir crash

Second flight data recorder retrieved

Investigators trying to find out how the A-320 crashed now have access to both the recorders

CAIRO • Search teams have retrieved a second flight recorder from the crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 containing data from aircraft systems which could shed light on what brought the plane down last month, Egyptian investigators said yesterday.

An Egyptian committee investigating the crash into the eastern Mediterranean Sea made the announcement a day after search teams found the cockpit voice recorder in a breakthrough for investigators seeking to find out what caused the plane to go down, killing all 66 people on board.

The Airbus 320 crashed early on May 19 on its way from Paris to Cairo. The two black-box recorders are crucial to explaining what went wrong.

The Egyptian investigation committee said preparations were under way to transfer the two flight recorders to Alexandria where they will be received by an official from the general prosecutor's office and investigators.

No group has claimed responsibility for bringing down the plane, but investigation sources have said that it is too early to rule out any causes, including terrorism.

If intact, the cockpit recorder should reveal pilot conversations and any cockpit alarms, as well as other clues such as engine noise.

But crash experts say it may provide only limited insight into what caused the crash, especially if the crew were confused or unable to diagnose any faults. For that, the second black box containing data from the aircraft systems is needed.

An Egyptian Aviation Ministry source who declined to be named said that if the voice data was heavily damaged, it could be sent abroad for further analysis.

Search teams spent weeks scouring an area about 290km north of the Egyptian coast for the recorders. Investigators were able to narrow down the search site thanks to an emergency signal sent via satellite by the plane's locator transmitter when it hit the Mediterranean.

The crash is the third blow since last October to Egypt's travel industry. A Russian plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula last October, killing all 224 people on board in an attack claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked by a man wearing a fake suicide belt. No one was hurt.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Second flight data recorder retrieved'. Print Edition | Subscribe