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French investigators confirm EgyptAir black box pings detected

Earlier on Wednesday, French navy ship detected acoustic pings from EgyptAir flight that crashed last month, killing 66 people
French solider looks for signs of downed EgyptAir flight (AFP PHOTO/MARINE NATIONALE/ALEXANDRE GROYER)

French investigators confirmed they have detected electronic pings from the black box of an EgyptAir flight that crashed in the Mediterranean last month, AFP has reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Egyptian officials said a signal had been picked up by a French navy ship with acoustic detection systems searching for the wreckage of the Airbus A320 that went down with 66 people on board on 19 May, the ministry of civil aviation said.

Another vessel sent by a private company hired to help find the black boxes is on its way to the area carrying robots that can dive to the seabed to recover them.

The ship is due to arrive at the site within a week, the ministry said.

"Extensive search efforts are being carried out to locate the two data recorders in preparation for their retrieval," the ministry said.

The black boxes, which have enough battery power to emit signals for four or five weeks, may help investigators determine the reason for the crash.

Investigators have said it is too soon to determine what caused the disaster although a terror attack has not been ruled out.

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 minutes before disappearing from radar screens.

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