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France Opens Manslaughter Probe into Crashed EgyptAir Jet

  • VOA News

Part of the wreckage from EgyptAir flight 804. Photo was posted Saturday, May 21, 2016, on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman.

Part of the wreckage from EgyptAir flight 804. Photo was posted Saturday, May 21, 2016, on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman.

French prosecutors have opened a manslaughter probe into the May 19 crash of an EgyptAir jetliner that went down in the eastern Mediterranean killing all 66 people on board.

Monday's probe announcement in Paris stressed that the inquiry was launched as an accident investigation and not as a terrorism probe. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said authorities were not currently leaning toward the theory that the Paris-to-Cairo flight had been brought down deliberately.

There was no distress call from the pilots and no one has claimed responsibility for causing the crash.

In a related development, memory cards recovered by Egyptian investigators from the doomed plane's damaged flight recorders arrived Monday in Paris in hopes that French engineers can salvage critical data about the crash.

French analysts attempting to retrieve chip data from the damaged black boxes of Flight MS804 are part of the same unit that succeeded in extracting critical flight recorder data from a Rio de Janeiro-to-Paris flight that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009. Those black boxes were submerged thousands of meters below the ocean surface for nearly two years before being recovered.

Egyptian investigators have already determined the May 19 flight made a sharp left turn, followed by a 360-degree sweep to the right before plunging into the sea. French aviation experts say the plane sent automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and trouble with a flight control unit shortly before disappearing from radar.

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