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EgyptAir Flight 804 went down on Thursday, May 19, 2016, over the Mediterranean Sea, killing all 66 passengers on board. The plane disappeared from radar as it entered Egyptian airspace early Thursday. Currently, the Egyptian government is using every resource to search for answers as to what occurred to cause the tragic crash.
As the investigation began, information regarding what happened to cause the EgyptAir flight to go down was difficult to discover. Now, five days after the tragic crash, radio messages from the flight indicating there was smoke in the cabin before the plane went down have been made public. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has ordered the search to be expanded for debris, bodies and the black box to uncover answers into the crash. Sisi issued his first statement regarding the tragic crash, assuring the public that all possibilities from technical failure to terrorism are being investigated.
The investigation has taken on two spokes. The search and rescue in the area where the flight went down, as well as the EgyptAir flight’s previous stops before leaving Paris for Cairo, when the tragic crash took place. The electronic signals regarding smoke in the cabin were automatically generated from the plane’s black box. This recorder will send out a beacon signal for five weeks. However, it is crucial to find the recording device soon because if it reaches a depth of 2,000 meters underwater, its data will be rendered useless. Egypt has enlisted a submarine, from their Oil Ministry, to aid in the search. The robot submarine can reach depths of 3,000 meters and is used for maintaining oil rigs. Whether the submarine is being used to locate the black box is unknown. Usually, hydrophones would be utilized in a water crash to find the signal from the recorder, which is sent every second.
The second prong in the search for answers concerning what brought the EgyptAir flight down over the Mediterranean Sea is what happened at the stops before Paris? According to the “Wall Street Journal,” the plane made stops in Brussels, Asmara and Eritrea from Cairo on Tuesday. Then, the plane landed in Tunis, before its flight to Charles de Gaulle, on Wednesday. The possibility that the plane went down as a result of technical failure is still being investigated. The likelihood that a security breach occurred is also being reviewed. 9News reported that Egypt’s aviation minister made a statement that terrorism was more likely than a technical failure. However, he did not have any proof associated with the assertion.
Meanwhile, EgyptAir has terminated the employment of several people because of their political views. Aviation employees are being held responsible for threatening messages written in Arabic underneath the plane, which appeared two years ago. The message read, “We will bring this plane down.” The message could also be perceived as a play on words; the phonetics of the aircraft’s registration, SU-GCC, and President Sisi’s surname are similar. After this message was found, EgyptAir was prompted to employ security guards on its flights. There were three security workers who lost their lives in the tragic crash.
The investigation into the accident and search for the bodies of the 66 victims are expected to continue for weeks. The families of the victims are still awaiting answers into what happened to the 10 crew members and 56 passengers on the flight. Among the passengers, 30 of them were Egyptian and 16 were French nationals. President Sisi is assuring the families that all scenarios will be investigated to determine the exact cause of the tragic accident.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Bloomberg: EgyptAir Black Box Unit widened with Submarine Joining Search
9News: EgyptAir Investigation Turns to Final Stops of Doomed Flight 804
New York Times: Egypt Sends Submersible in search for EgyptAir Jet’s Black Boxes
Photo by Sergey Kustov Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License