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French naval ship Laplace joins search for crashed A320 aircraft — Navy

June 01, 9:47 UTC+3 PARIS
Two investigators from France’s air accident watchdog are onboard the Laplace, which specializes in underwater searches
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©  EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

PARIS, May 31 /TASS/. The French naval ship Laplace specializing in underwater searches has arrived from Corsica to a search zone in the Mediterranean to help find the flight recorders of an A320 Egyptian plane that crashed on May 19, a French Navy spokesman said.

"A naval oceanographic research ship Laplace started searching for the plane and its flight recorders today in the afternoon. The plane is equipped with three French made Alseamar detectors capable of detecting signals from black boxes at a depth of 4-5 kilometers. Two investigators from France’s air accident investigation agency, the BEA, are onboard the Laplace," the spokesman said.

Another specialized vessel of France’s Deep Ocean Search Company are expected to arrive in the A320 crash area on June 10 under a contract with the Egyptian authorities. The vessel is equipped with a remote control underwater craft capable of recovering black boxes from a depth of 3 kilometers. Experts believe the sea is 3 kilometers deep in the area where the missing plane could fall.

There were 66 people on board, including 56 passengers from 12 countries, when the Airbus A320 (MS804 flight) crashed on May 19.

The plane was flying overnight from Paris to Cairo when it vanished from Greek and Egyptian radar screens, apparently without having sent a distress call 35 minutes before the supposed landing. Later, the plane debris were discovered near the Greek island of Karpathos.

There were 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals on board of the doomed aircraft.

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