Breaking News: Damaged flight recorders from the EgyptAir aircraft that crashed last month will be sent to France for repairs, Egyptian investigators say

Egypt officials were unable to extract any data from either of the two recorders and said that they will be sent to France for further testing.  It appears the black boxes were severely damaged by saltwater. EgyptAir said in a statement Thursday that the French will “carry out repair and removal of salt accumulations.”

There are two types of recorders, a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder.  The flight data recorder gathers technical data from the airplane’s sensors such as air speed, altitude, engine performance and wing positions. The cockpit voice recorder captures sounds from the flight deck, including flight crew conversation, alarms and background noise.  Both recorders help investigators understand what the airplane and flight crew were doing.

The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it vanished from radar in the eastern Mediterranean on 19 May.  66 people were aboard when the plane went down.

Flight path of Egypt 804 Source: CBC
Flight path of Egypt 804
Source: CBC

Here is what we do know (source BBC.com):

Greek air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot at 23:48 GMT as the plane flew over the island of Kea. He was in good spirits and reported no problems.

At 00:26 GMT smoke was detected in the toilet, according to data sent back to the airline via the ACARS reporting system.

At 00:27 GMT, more smoke was reportedly detected in the avionics area which contains the aircraft’s electronics and computers below the cockpit.

The controllers tried to make contact with the plane at 00:27 GMT, before it left Greek airspace, but despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond.

At 00:29 GMT, the aircraft left Greek airspace and at 00:29.40 GMT it vanished from Greek radar.

There has been no claim of responsibility by any terrorist organization, however evidence from the data recorders will be critical in helping to determine what did cause the flight to go down.

Read more at CNN here.