The Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry released a statement today saying that a French ship picked up “signals from the bottom of the sea in the search area [of the downed EgyptAir flight],” adding it is assumed to be from one of the plane’s black boxes.
The ill-fated plane left Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. local time May 18 and lost contact with the radar tracking system over the Mediterranean Sea at 2:45 a.m., not far from its intended destination in Cairo, according to the airline.
The EgyptAir pilot made a 90-degree turn to the left and then a 360-degree maneuver as the plane plunged about 20,000 feet just before officials lost contact with it, officials said. Smoke was detected from within the doomed EgyptAir plane shortly before it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean Sea, which experts believed likely pointed toward a mechanical failure.
Searches for the missing black box recorders inside the plane have been underway since May 19, when an investigation into the plane’s disappearance first began. Pieces of debris have been found over the past two weeks — by the U.S. Navy and other groups contributing to the search — but the black boxes have remained elusive until now.
So-called black boxes, also known as flight recorders, are capable of providing crucial information in investigations such as the one being conducted in the search for EgyptAir Flight 804, including documentation of the cockpit’s audio environment at the time the plane disappeared from radar.