Following two days of searching, Egyptian crews have located the data recorders for EgyptAir Flight 804 close to an area where human remains and debris from the crashed flight have been found, CBS News reports citing government sources.
Planes and vessels from Egypt and five other countries - Greece, Britain, France, the United States and Cyprus - continued searching a wide area of the eastern Mediterranean on Saturday, a day after the Egyptian military found debris from the passenger jet in the sea 180 miles north of the Egyptian port city of Alexandria. The waters in the area are 8,000 to 10,000 feet deep, and the pings from the black boxes can be detected up to a depth of 20,000 feet.
Once found, the black boxes will determine the reason for the crash. On Friday, the widely accepted theory that a terrorist attack was responsible for the crash was put in question when new information was transmitted from the flight indicating that smoke was detected on the plane before it crashed. According to the sources, the information indicates smoke was coming from one of the engines. The data was transmitted through the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which sends snapshots of engine performance throughout the flight.
Adding to the confusion, however, is the insistence of Egyptian authorities who believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit. But so far no hard evidence has emerged.
If the explosion was an act of terrorism, a recurring question is why nobody has claimed the attack: so far no militant group has claimed to have brought down the aircraft. That is a contrast to the downing of a Russian jet in October over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that killed all 224 on board. In that case, the Sinai branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, issued a claim of responsibility within hours. On Friday, ISIS issued a statement on clashes with the Egyptian military in Sinai, but said nothing about the plane crash.
Looking for clues to whether terrorists may have brought down the Airbus A320, investigators have been poring over the passenger list and questioned ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, from which the plane took off. CBS adds that French aviation investigators have begun to check and question all baggage handlers, maintenance workers, gate agents and other ground crew members at Charles de Gaulle Airport who had a direct or indirect link to the plane before it took off, according to a French judicial official.
Whatever caused the aircraft to crash, the tragedy will very likely deepen Egypt's difficult predicament as the country of some 90 million people struggles to revive a battered economy and contain an increasingly resilient insurgency by Islamic militants.
Also on Saturday morning, the Egyptian military posted new photos of debris on its spokesman's Facebook page. They included what appeared to be parts of a seat, a lifejacket and what looks to be a pink and purple children's blanket.
Here is the full clip released moments ago by the Egyptian military showing the flight debris.