Signal from EgyptAir flight MS804 could pinpoint location of wreckage

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Search for Missing EgyptAir Jet's Black Boxes Intensifies

Signals have been picked up from an emergency transmitter on EgyptAir Flight MS804, investigators said Thursday, eight days after the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people aboard.

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Leaders of the Egyptian investigative team said at a news conference in Cairo that signals from one of the three pieces of locator equipment on the plane had allowed them to narrow the primary search to about a 3-mile area.

Ayman al-Muqaddam, the head of the investigation team, said a French ship was moved from Corsica to that location to search for the plane's black box data recorders.

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Signal from EgyptAir flight MS804 could pinpoint location of wreckage
A still image from video released May 19, 2016 shows EgyptAir Airbus A320 SU-GCC taking off at Brussels, Belgium, September 26, 2015. Mandatory credit The YottaTube/via REUTERS TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
An employee works at the EgyptAir desk at Charles de Gaulle airport, after an EgyptAir flight disappeared from radar during its flight from Paris to Cairo, in Paris, France, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
An unidentified woman reacts as she waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
An unidentified man reacts as he waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
An unidentified woman reacts as she waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
The flight path of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo is seen on a flight tracking screen May 19, 2016. Courtesy Flightradar24.com/Handout via Reuters 
FILE PHOTO - An EgyptAir plane is seen on the runway at Cairo Airport, Egypt in this September 5, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo
Unidentified relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo react as they wait outside the Egyptair in-flight service building where relatives are being held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
FILE PHOTO - A general view shows the Terminal 1 at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris September 17, 2014, where missing EgyptAir flight MS804 originated from. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
CAIRO, EGYPT - MAY 19: Relatives of passengers onboard missing EgyptAir flight MS804 cry at Cairo International Airport as they try to receive information in Cairo, Egypt on May 19, 2016. Airliner disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace during its flight from Paris to Cairo. (Photo by Ala Ahmed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
French police officers and a sniffer dog patrol a terminal building at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Roissy, France, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egypt deployed naval ships to search for an EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route to Cairo from Paris that went missing overnight off the coast of the North African country with 66 people on board. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A screenshot from Flightradar24.com showing the flight track of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris, France, to Cairo, Egypt. The Airbus A320 with 66 people on board disappeared from radar on May 19, 2016. TASS (Photo by TASS\TASS via Getty Images)
Egypt's Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy speaks during a press conference on May 19, 2016 at the Ministry of Civil Aviation at Cairo's airport after an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean sea with 66 people on board. The Airbus A320 fell 22,000 feet and swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before it disappeared from radar screens, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos told a news conference. Fathy said he could not rule out either terrorism or a technical problem. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee sits at EgyptAir Airlines check in desk at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Roissy, France, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egypt deployed naval ships to search for an EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route to Cairo from Paris that went missing overnight off the coast of the North African country with 66 people on board. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CAIRO, EGYPT - MAY 19: Travelers come and go from terminal 3 at the Cairo International Airport on May 19, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 passengers and crew vanished over the eastern Mediterranean last night. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).
Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy speaks, after EgyptAir plane vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo, during a news conference at headquarters of ministry in Cairo, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Unidentified relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo react as they wait outside the Egyptair in-flight service building where relatives are being held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egypt and EgyptAir flags are seen infront of an Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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And a second company has been hired to continue search efforts in several other possible locations where the black boxes might be in a radius of 20 naval miles, he said.

Al-Muqaddam said search teams are racing against time "under difficult conditions" to find the black boxes, whose batteries last for only 30 days — eight of which have already passed.

But "even if we pass the 30-day period without locating the black boxes, we will continue to search, because there are similar accidents where they have found black boxes after a few months," he said.

An official report is expected in about three weeks, he said.

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Authorities still don't know what caused the Airbus A320, flying from Paris to Cairo, to disappear from radar in the middle of the night on May 19.

The plane's last automated messages indicated overheating, smoke and computer failures, but air traffic control received no mayday call from the flight crew.

"We do not know right now whether there was an explosion, whether there was a structural problem, whether there was a mechanical problem, an electrical problem," NBC News aviation analyst John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems of Washington, D.C., said this week.

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