A French ship has picked up signals from deep under the Mediterranean Sea from one of the black boxes of the crashed EgyptAir flight MS804.
The missing Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared over the Mediterranean on May 19 with 66 people on board, triggering a flurry of speculation as to the cause, including suggestions it was brought down by terrorists.
French investigators on Wednesday confirmed its vessel, Laplace, picked up a signal. Investigators have been searching in some of the deepest waters of the Mediterranean for the EgyptAir Airbus.
"The signal from a beacon from a flight recorder has been detected," the BBC quoted Remi Jouty, of France's Bureau of Investigations and Analysis, as saying.
He told the broadcaster a priority search area has now been established.
The French navy is reportedly awaiting the arrival of a second vessel that is equipped to take pictures and retrieve objects from the sea.
Egyptian investigators first reported that the French vessels had picked up signals from the wreckage search area which were "assumed" to be from one of the devices.
The discovery came as Airbus Executive Vice President for Engineering Charles Champion claimed an ejectable flight recorder would remove the need for seabed searches, Reuters reported.
The jet’s black boxes are designed to emit acoustic signals for 30 days after a crash, giving search teams fewer than three weeks to spot them in waters up to 9,840-feet (3,000-meters) deep, which is on the edge of their range.
“If we have a deployable recorder it will be much easier to find,” Airbus Executive Vice President for Engineering Charles Champion told a media event.
“We have been working on that and this only reinforces our overall approach.”
Ejectable or “deployable” recorders would separate from the tail during a crash and float, emitting a distress signal.