EgyptAir Black Boxes Found

by Abby Johnston

Update: Egyptian officials have denied reports that the black box was found.

Search crews have reportedly found black boxes for the crashed EgyptAir flight near the spot where they discovered debris and human remains from the wreckage. According to CBS News on Saturday, their sources in the Egyptian government said that the multiple black boxes found on Saturday belong to the plane, which plummeted into the Mediterranean this week, killing all 66 people on board the flight from Paris to Cairo. The black boxes, plus data that investigators have already received from transmissions, could shed more light on what caused the crash.

The so-called black boxes, or data recorders for the plane, can often help investigators determine what caused the crash. Though CBS is reporting that its sources have confirmed the black boxes have been located, Egyptian officials and airline spokespeople have not similarly confirmed the story. Egyptian officials say that if a black box was found, the public would be notified immediately.

This news comes right after French investigators said that data sent from the plane indicates that there was smoke on board the aircraft, possibly coming from the engine. The data, which, according to CBS, shows snapshots of the engine performance as the flight goes on, is another key part of the puzzle to understanding what happened to the plane.


Although the data from the engine does indicate that smoke was on the plane, the French Bureau of Inquiry and Analysis cautions that it is still too early to interpret what caused the crash. The bureau told the AFP on Saturday:

The BEA confirms that there have been ACARS messages sent by the plane indicating that there was smoke in the cabin shortly before the break in data transmissions. It’s too early to interpret and understand the causes of the accident until we have found either the wreckage or the [flight data and cockpit voice] recorders.

This latest tragedy has raised a lot of questions about the efficiency of black boxes to transmit and record flight data. As with other plane crashes over water, it is often a lengthy and difficult deep-water search to recover the flight data recorders, which provide the best data for understanding what happened. Experts have called for streaming data from the plane, so real-time updates could be used to understand what went wrong. As CBS notes, the search to recover black boxes from a crash in Brazil took two years and cost $40 million, and the black boxes from a crash over the Indian Ocean were never recovered.