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EgyptAir Crash: Flight MS804 Bodies Are Recovered

A search vessel looking for the remains of victims of the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean in May has recovered all of the mapped bodies from the sea floor, investigators say.

Flight MS804

The Mauritian-based ship John Lethbridge is now sailing to Alexandria in Egypt.

It will later return to the crash site to look for more bodies.

The flight from Paris to Cairo crashed on 19 May, killing all 66 on board. The cause of the crash remains unknown.

A statement by the Egyptian Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee said that the search vessel John Lethbridge “retrieved all the human remains that were mapped at the crash location”.

The vessel will return to the crash location after delivering the remains in Alexandria “to conduct a new thorough scan of the seabed and to search for any [more] human remains”, the committee said.

It said Egyptian and French forensic doctors on board the vessel oversaw the body recovery process.

The remains are due to be examined by bloodstain pattern analysis services, prosecutors, and forensic specialists in Alexandria before going to Cairo for DNA analysis.

The committee said on Saturday that the memory chips from the airliner’s black box voice recorders are not damaged and investigators should be able to make use of them.

The black box from EgyptAir flight MS804 confirmed smoke was on board, Egyptian investigators said last week.

Automated electronic messages sent by the plane revealed that smoke detectors went off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane disappeared.

The recorded data are consistent with those messages, investigators said.

The voice and flight data recorders were recovered from a depth of about 3,000m (9,800ft) in the Mediterranean.

The second black box, the cockpit recorder, is still being repaired in Paris.

No explanation for the disaster has so far been dismissed, but experts are reported by the Reuters news agency to be tending towards the theory that the cause of the crash was a technical failure rather than sabotage.


What we know

  • EgyptAir Flight MS804 vanished over the eastern Mediterranean early on Thursday 19 May with 66 passengers and crew on board
  • Some surface debris was found 290km (180 miles) north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria
  • Wreckage was subsequently found in several locations at a depth of about 3,000m (9,800ft)
  • Signals from the plane indicated that smoke was detected in the toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit
  • Aircraft made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before vanishing off radar
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