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French Robot Sub Begins Searching Red Sea for Flight Recorders from Crashed Jet - 2004-01-13

A special French submarine robot has begun searching for the two flight recorders of the Egyptian jetliner that crashed into the Red Sea 10-days ago, killing all 148 people aboard.

The powerful underwater robot, called the Scorpio, is searching the waters off the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. Officials hope the 3.5 ton robot will help diving teams retrieve the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Salvage teams found the so-called "black box" recorders last week, but were unable to reach them in the deep waters. Both recorders are located 800-meters deep, about one kilometer apart.

The robot, which was made available to the search effort by France Telecom and will be operated by the French navy, can search waters more than one kilometer deep.

Officials expect the black-box recorders to reveal what caused the Boeing 737 to crash. They believe the plane went down due to a mechanical failure. A second search robot from France is expected to arrive later this week in Egypt.