Egyptian Authorities hire recovery team to assist in search of black box

Exclusive to The Middle East Online

Edited by Nelly Tawil

Egyptian Authorities hired a deep ocean survey and recovery company to join the hunt for wreckage of the EgyptAir jet that went down over the eastern Mediterranean last week as new satellite evidence emerged to help narrow down the likely crash site.

The country’s civil-aviation ministry signed a Deep Ocean Search Ltd., according to French authorities. The DOS’s vessel will join the Laplace, a French Navy ship set to arrive in the area over the weekend and deploying specialist technology to pick up telltale “pings” from the Airbus Group SE A320’s black-box flight recorders.

European and US satellites detected signals from the plane shortly after it disappeared from radar on May 19 with 66 people aboard, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Commander Benjamin Chauvet, a spokesman for the French Navy, said in Paris Thursday that the search zone remains too wide to quickly hone in on the black boxes. Waters in the area are also particularly polluted, forcing searchers to sift through unrelated debris, he said.

Signals from the A320’s emergency locator transmitter may have identified an area with a 5-kilometer radius, the state-owned Ahram Gate website said, citing Ayman Al Moqadem, Egypt’s air-accident investigation chief.

An aircraft ELF emits a radio signal – separate to the flight recorder pings – detectable by satellite in the event of a crash, though the beacon wouldn’t normally function underwater.