Pieces of the cabin from the missing EgyptAir plane which crashed into the Mediterranean last month have been found, Egyptian investigators said Wednesday, according to the AFP news agency.
A French vessel taking part in the search discovered pieces of fuselage at “several sites”, the Egyptian board of inquiry said in a statement.
The Airbus A320 which had been en route from Paris to Cairo disappeared on May 19, with the loss of all 66 people on board.
Egypt’s civil aviation authority confirmed a mid-air explosion had occurred, and after initially saying they weren’t ruling any causes out admitted that a terrorist attack was more likely the cause than a technical failure.
International air and naval teams discovered debris of the plane less than two days later, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Alexandria. Among the wreckage: personal belongings of passengers and crew – as well as human remains. A Cairo team is currently carrying out DNA tests on the remains to determine if they belong to those aboard
Two weeks ago, the French vessel Laplace picked up signals from the downed airplane’s black boxes.
“Black boxes” are the crucial components of any aircraft which record the plane’s movements and technical settings at any given time in the flight data recorder, as well as audio from the cockpit in the cockpit voice recorder.
The “John Lethbridge” research boat, which found pieces of the plane on Wednesday, arrived in Egypt last week to begin searching the Mediterranean for the wreckage with an underwater robot.
The discovery comes after investigators warned on Monday that signals from the plane’s black boxes would stop operating by the end of the month, according to AFP.
The area of sea where it crashed is believed to be about 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) deep and its flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder should have had enough battery power to emit signals for four to five weeks.
Investigators have said it is too soon to determine what caused the disaster although a terror attack has not been ruled out.
That speculation is based on previous threats to the plane, the proximity of hundreds of maintenance workers to the plane at four high-risk airports in the 48 hours before the crash, and an odd trajectory recorded on the flight – as well as the lack of emergency warnings before the plane was spotted with a flash and a fireball.