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Black box of EgyptAir flight 804 discovered

The discovery of the flight recorder, which contains crucial data on the plane downing, comes just days before its signal was expected to die
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian military spokesperson on 21 May (AFP)

Investigators on Thursday discovered one of the flight recorders from an EgyptAir plane that came down last month killing all 66 people on board.

Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister, Sherif Fathy, said that the box had been destroyed, but that its data storage unit was recovered and sent to investigators.

Egyptian investigators said earlier on Thursday that "several main locations of the wreckage" had been discovered, following nearly a month-long search operation in the Mediterranean Sea close to Greece.

The Airbus A320 plane set off as EgyptAir flight 804 from Paris to Cairo on 19 May, but disappeared from Egyptian and Greek radar screens apparently without sending any distress call.

Suspicions initially fell on militant groups, especially the Islamic State which has threatened both France and Egypt, but no organisations have as yet claimed responsibility. 

Investigators hope the discovery of the flight recorder, which contains recordings from inside the cockpit, will shed light on why the plane came down.

The Egyptian board of inquiry had warned earlier this week that signals from the plane's two flight recorders would cease on 24 June, after more than a month at sea.

The sea bed where MS804 crashed is believed to be about 3,000 metres deep, and its flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder should have had enough battery power to emit signals for four to five weeks.

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