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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters
By Charlene Gubash and Alastair Jamieson

What's in a Black Box

Jan. 12, 201500:44

CAIRO — The "black boxes" from an EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea last month are expected to stop emitting signals on June 24, investigators said.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) likely hold vital information about what caused Flight MS804 to crash on May 19, killing all 66 people on board.

The task of recovering the devices from the sea floor would be much harder without the battery-powered "pings" indicating their location.

Egypt’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee also said it had accepted a request by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to have an American representative join the investigation team because the Airbus A320’s engines were built by a consortium that includes Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney.

In a statement issued Monday, the agency said it had received Egyptian military radar images confirming that the aircraft deviated from its planned course and turned a full circle before disappearing on route from Paris to Cairo. “This comes in accordance with [earlier] British and Greek radar images,” it said.

Egyptian officials had previously said that the plane suddenly disappeared off the radar at cruising altitude around 37,000 feet.

France's air accident investigation agency, which is advising Egypt on the underwater search, has said that one of the search ships has continued to pick up "ping’"signals from one black box whose position has been narrowed to within just over a mile.

To recover the black boxes from the seabed, almost 10,000 feet below the surface, investigators will need to pinpoint the signals to within a few meters and establish whether the "pingers" are still connected to the devices.