French ship picks up signals from deep under Mediterranean Sea

This August 21, 2015 photo shows an EgyptAir Airbus A320 with the registration SU-GCC taking off from Vienna International Airport, Austria. Egyptian aviation officials said on Thursday May 19, 2016 that an EgyptAir plane with the registration SU-GCC, traveling from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board has crashed off the Greek island of Karpathos. Meanwhile, Egypt's chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek says he has ordered an "urgent investigation" into crash. Sadek instructed the National Security Prosecutor to open an "extensive investigation" in the incident. (AP Photo/Thomas Ranner)

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt says a French ship has picked up signals from deep under Mediterranean Sea, presumed to be from black boxes of the EgyptAir plane that crashed last month, killing all 66 passengers and crew on board.

The Civil Aviation Ministry is citing a statement from the committee investigating the crash as saying the vessel Laplace is the one that received the signals.

Wednesday’s statement says that a second ship, John Lethbridge affiliated with the Deep Ocean Search firm, will join the search team later this week.

Locator pings emitted by flight data and cockpit voice recorders, known as the black boxes, can be picked up from deep underwater.

EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed off Egypt’s northern coast while flying from Paris to Cairo on May 19, 2016. The cause of the tragedy still has not been determined. Ships and planes from Egypt, Greece, France, the United States and other nations have been searching the Mediterranean north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria for the jet’s voice and flight data recorders, as well as more bodies and parts of the aircraft.

Small pieces of the wreckage and human remains have been recovered while the bulk of the plane and the bodies of the passengers are believed to be deep under the sea. A Cairo forensic team has received the human remains and is carrying DNA tests to identify the victims.

Egypt’s civil aviation minister Sherif Fathi has said he believes terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure or some other catastrophic event. But no hard evidence has emerged on the cause, and no militant group has claimed to have downed the jet. Earlier, leaked flight data indicated a sensor detected smoke in a lavatory and a fault in two of the plane’s cockpit windows in the final moments of the flight.

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