Private firms to hunt for Egyptair black boxes: France

26th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

France and Egypt will hire two private firms to help in the hunt for the black boxes from the EgyptAir plane that crashed last week on route from from Paris to Cairo, the French foreign ministry has said.

"We are in talks with two private companies... in coordination with the Egyptian authorities," a ministry spokesman said Wednesday, adding: "The idea is to mobilise the resources very quickly."

A diplomatic source in Paris said the two companies, both French, were the Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search (DOS) and Alseamar, based in the French capital.

EgyptAir Flight MS804 crashed in the Mediterranean last Thursday between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt's north coast with 66 people aboard, including 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals.

French and Egyptian aviation officials have said it is too soon to determine what caused the disaster although a terror attack on the Airbus A320 has not been ruled out.

France and Egypt will share the costs for the search, which faces a race against the clock, as the flight data and voice recorders emit locator "pings" for no more than about a month.

DOS says it can operate in depths of up to 6,000 metres (20,000 feet) and has a robot that is capable of mapping the seabed.

Egypt has deployed a submersible that can operate at a depth of 3,000 metres in the hunt for the black boxes, while a French patrol boat is also in the search area, concentrating mainly on the surface.

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 before contact was lost.

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© 2016 AFP

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