31/05/2016 10:34 BST | Updated 02/06/2016 10:16 BST

EgyptAir Flight MS804 Sent Distress Call Before Crashing, Officials Confirm

EgyptAir Flight MS804 sent out a distress call before it crashed, it has been confirmed.

The missing Airbus 320 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.

Rapidly emerging details painted a murky picture of what actually happened but the claim that the plane sent a distress call before it came down has now been confirmed.

A Cairo imam comforts a man who lost four relatives in the EgyptAir plane crash

"The investigating committee received satellite reports indicating receiving an electronic distress call from the plane's Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)," Egypt’s State Information Service said.

It follows reports that the search area for the plane has been narrowed to a three-mile radius, as search teams strive to find the plane's black boxes before their signal runs out.

The teams are waiting for a specialised ship designed to carry out deep water searches.

It has previously been reported that the plane's crew made verbal distress calls.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Some of the passengers' belongings and parts of the wreck found in the Mediterranean

The captain, 37-year-old Mohamed Said Shoukair also reportedly had a conversation with Cairo air traffic for several minutes about the presence of smoke in the plane.

Claims that flight MS804 was brought down by a bomb have been dismissed as speculation.

Since the crash, there have been emerging and sometimes contradictory reports on how it happened, including on whether it swerved suddenly before it vanished from radar.

Ships and planes from Egypt, Greece, France, the United States and other nations have been searching the Mediterranean north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria for the jet's voice and flight data recorders, as well as more bodies and parts of the aircraft.

Small pieces of the wreckage and human remains have been recovered while the bulk of the plane and the bodies of the passengers are believed to be deep under the sea. A Cairo forensic team has received the human remains and is carrying DNA tests to identify the victims.

Because of the difficulties in finding the black boxes, Egypt has contracted two foreign companies, Alseamar and Deep Ocean Research, to help locate the flight data recorders of the plane.

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