Robot sub to dive for crash plane boxes
CAIRO, Jan 12 (AFP) - An advanced French robot submarine arrived Monday at the site where a charter plane crashed into the Red Sea on January 3, killing all 148 people aboard, and is preparing to dive for the flight recorders, French sources said.
The submarine Scorpio arrived off the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh aboard France Telecom’s cable ship L’ile de Batz from Suez, after being flown to Cairo Saturday and taken on by road to the Egyptian port.
Another French robot submarine, Super Achille, which is being trucked to Sharm el-Sheikh, will join Scorpio on Thursday, operating off the Janus II, chartered by the French government from diving specialists Comex.
The two submarines will boost the efforts of diving teams on location since soon after the crash which killed more than 130 French tourists as they were taking off at the end of a New Year’s holiday.
Their main target will be the black box flight recorders located last week by French experts working with Egyptian teams at a depth of up to 800 meters (2,600 feet) of water and impossible to retrieve with the resources available.
One black box records the movements of the plane’s controls and the other the voices of the pilot and co-pilot. The information is expected to reveal the exact cause of the disaster, although Egyptian and French experts believe it was a technical fault or other accident.
Flash Airlines, Egyptian owners of the Boeing 737-300, was banned from Swiss airspace in 2002 because of alleged “serious shortcomings,” including engine maintenance and flight control problems, though the company insists the plane was in good order.
Subject: France news