Crews combing the Mediterranean Sea have reportedly pinpointed “several main locations” of the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight MS804, as the search to locate the downed plane appears to be nearing an end.
The flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar in otherwise clear skies on May 19th as it neared Egyptian airspace, killing all 66 people on board.
Search teams have reportedly taken photos of the wreckage in locations between the Greek isle of Crete and the Egyptian coastline. The images come some two weeks after a French vessel detected signals from the plane’s black box flight recorders.
This new search boat, the John Lethbridge, was commissioned by the Egyptian Government and is equipped with sonar, radar and other equipment which is capable of detecting wreckage at depths of up to 1830 metres below the surface of the sea.
The next step in the salvage process, according to the Egyptian committee in charge of the search mission, would be to draw a map of the pinpointed locations in order to send dedicated salvage personnel and equipment to the area. This would bring the mission one step closer to retrieving the black box recorders from the plane, and in turn bring it one step closer to discovering what caused the plane to go down.
The cause of the crash is still undetermined, however radar data shows the flight made a sudden 90 degree turn to the right, followed by a full 360 degree turn to the left, and then began plummeting down from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet before it disappeared from radar at a height of 10,000 feet. Leaked data shows smoke was detected in an on-board lavatory, and that two of the plane’s cockpit windows were reporting faults as it made its harrowing descent.
Egypt’s civil aviation minister maintains that a terrorist incident is the most likely cause, rather than any mechanical failure. Though no terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility.