Egyptian officials investigating the crash of Egypt Air Flight 804 reported on Monday that the plane veered off course before dropping from the sky, into the Mediterranean. This information suggests that an abrupt in-flight explosion did not bring down the doomed flight, and undermines the initial statement by Egyptian authorities that contact was lost “abruptly.”
According to investigators, who have gone over all available radar information, the Cairo-bound flight, which originated in Paris, “deviated” from its course while at 37,000 feet and turned to the left, and then rolled to the right completing a full circle. While the new information may suggest that an abrupt in-flight explosion is less likely, it does not explain why the plane plunged out of the sky and into the sea.
The flight made three separate emergency landings in the 24-hour period leading up to its demise on May 19. At the time, French media reports the on-board warning system, known as Acars, went off at three separate airports, forcing the flight to land for technical checks. All of these alerts were investigated and the plane was cleared for take-off each time.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, along with a representative from black-box-maker Honeywell, have been invited to participate in the investigation. Officials are still trying to pinpoint the location of the black boxes, almost two weeks after the French detected a signal from a beacon belonging to one of the boxes. It is a race against time, as a major problem with current black box technology is the limited amount of time that they will emit its locator signal — around 30 days. Investigators believe that the black boxes will stop emitting a signal on June 24.
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