French foreign minister calls for EgyptAir crash investigation to be expedited
Courtesy: Remi Jouan, via Wikimedia
 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has urged his Egyptian counterpart to be attentive to the plight of families of the victims of EgyptAir flight MS804 who are anxiously awaiting information on what caused the commercial jet to crash into the Mediterranean Sea in May.

In a statement published on Wednesday, Aryault recounted a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, in which he reminded the Egyptian politician that the families are also waiting for the return of the victim’s remains and personal belongings, among other expectations they have for the Egyptian inquiry team.

Flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on May 19 en route from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Cairo International Airport, killing all 66 passengers and crew members on board. The flight disappeared from Egyptian and Greek radar as it left Greek airspace, with Aviation authorities saying that the plane did not emit a distress signal.

The flight’s recently repaired black box has revealed that smoke alarms sounded in the plane’s bathrooms and in the area below the cockpit, suggesting that a fire broke out on board. Investigators have also stated that the hull of the plane shows signs of heat damage.

While French investigators repaired parts of the cockpit voice recorder and discovered that the memory unit was intact, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry has said that it may take several weeks to analyze the contents.

Ayrault affirmed that France is providing assistance into the probe through the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) and the Institute of Criminal Research of the National Gendarmerie (IRCGN) in monitoring the technical investigation and victim identification process.

However, in a statement addressing the phone conversation, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry did not comment on the plane crash and omitted the concerns that Ayrault raised. Rather, the statement asserted the politicians discussed regional issues, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and developments in Libya and Syria.

The statement closed by stating that Ayrault plans to visit Egypt soon to discuss regional and bilateral issues.

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