The search for the black boxes that were on board EgyptAir Flight 804 when it crashed last week is officially an international effort. Airline Chairman Safwat Moslem announced Wednesday that the company has called in French and Italian investigators to look for the devices, which are believed to contain crucial information about the plane's final moments in the air, Reuters reported.
"We have contracted a French and an Italian company to conduct deep sea searching in the Mediterranean, 3,000 meters deep," Moslem said.
Analysts said in a report Tuesday that finding the 66 victims' remains and the black boxes was the top priority for the team. The crash occurred Thursday, when MS804 went down in the Mediterranean Sea en route from Paris to Cairo. There's still no agreement as to why the plane went down, though terrorism and fire have been floated as possible causes. There's also disagreement as to whether the plane swerved before crashing or experiencing an explosion.
The cockpit recordings and data on the black boxes could provide some answers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sweep for the boxes could take more than a week, but investigators must move fast — black boxes typically die after about 30 days.
Citing anonymous sources, CBS News reported this weekend that search crews had found the black boxes and were working on retrieving them. The area being scanned for debris and remains is about the size of Connecticut. "It’s deep, and the seabed there is very irregular so we can’t make predictions,” Greek official Athanassios Binis told the Financial Times.
In the event that Flight 804's black boxes are found intact, they will be examined by Egyptian investigators, Reuters reported expert Hani Galal told Egyptian reporters. If they're broken, analysts in other countries will handle them.