EgyptAir Crash: Signal from Black Box Detected

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A French naval vessel has detected a signal from one of the black boxes onboard the EgyptAir flight that crashed on its way from Paris to Cairo two weeks ago. This means we will hopefully know soon whether it was terrorism, a technical glitch, or human error that brought the plane down.

The French ship used special locator equipment to discover signals from the depths of the Mediterranean on Wednesday and investigators later confirmed that they came from one of the plane’s flight recorders. The search area is located about 180 miles north of the Egyptian coast, which is where authorities estimate the plane went down. The airplane’s wreckage is believed to be located about 10,000 feet, or a little more than 3,000 meters, deep. The next step is to wait for another ship, specialized in retrieving objects from the seabed, to recover the flight recorders. That ship is now on its way to the location and is set to join the search within a week.

Discovering the signal from the EgyptAir data recorder is a huge step toward understanding what happened to the plane. Because each recorder can only broadcast its signal for up to three miles, finding it means you are very close to the site of the crash. But time is essential since the batteries that emit the signal only last for 30 days after crashing, a factor that has made the search urgent.

The plane that crashed was an Airbus A320 on its way from Paris to Cairo, carrying 66 people. It sent out distress signal  indicating there was smoke onboard shortly before crashing May 19, but no one knows what could have caused the smoke. So far the only physical evidence from the crash that has been found includes small parts of debris, human remains, and personal belongings.

If the black boxes are intact and undamaged, their information will be able to tell investigators what went on during the plane’s last moments in the air.

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at



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