One of the two black box flight recorders from the EgyptAir plane that plunged into the Mediterranean last month has been repaired, Egypt’s investigation commission said on Tuesday, prompting hopes it could provide clues on why the aircraft went down.
The two black box recorders were found two weeks ago, but were too damaged to extract information on what caused the passenger jet to go down.
They were sent to France’s BEA air safety agency – which also extracted data from the black boxes of the ill-fated Rio de Janeiro to Paris flight that crashed in 2009 – to be repaired, where they arrived on Monday.
Investigators hope the recorders will reveal the cause of the May 19 crash of flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, in which all 66 people on board were killed. A terror attack has not been ruled out.
The black box recorder “has been successfully repaired… by the French accident investigation agency laboratory”, the commission said in a statement.
“Tests have been carried out… and we can be sure the flight parameters were properly recorded,” the investigators said.
“Work to repair the second black box will commence tomorrow.”
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it crashed in the Mediterranean, with 40 Egyptians and 15 French nationals on board as well as two Iraqis, two Canadians and one each from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
France’s aviation safety agency has said the aircraft transmitted automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit minutes before it disappeared.
Egyptian investigators confirmed the aircraft had made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before hitting the sea.
The repaired black boxes will be returned to Cairo for analysis in Egypt’s aviation ministry laboratories, the committee previously said.
French judges are also probing the May 19 crash. Prosecutors had previously opened a preliminary investigation – a normal procedure when French citizens are involved – and have handed their findings to judges for a “manslaughter” probe.
The crash follows the bombing of a Russian passenger over Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula last October, killing all 224 passengers and crew.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack, but there has been no such claim linked to the EgyptAir crash.