Cairo: Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi today said a submarine was deployed to locate the black boxes that could provide vital clues on what caused an EgyptAir plane to crash in the Mediterranean Sea carrying 66 people, as he asserted no theory was being favoured in the probe.
A submarine that could operate at a depth of 3,000 metres under sea level had been deployed for the purpose, Sisi said in a televised address.
"This (submarine) moved today in the direction of the plane crash because we are working hard to retrieve the two boxes, which are the black boxes," he said, adding: "All the theories are possible."
"There is no particular theory we can affirm right now," he added, even as the Egyptian aviation minister had earlier said that terrorism was more likely than technical failure in causing the ill-fated EgyptAir Flight MS804, en route from Paris to Cairo, to plunge into the waters on Thursday.
Sisi's remarks came a day after French authorities said "all theories are being examined and none is favoured".
Investigators continued to piece together clues for a potential breakthrough even as some reports of an audio from the jet and even of locating the black boxes emerged.
Multinational searchers scouring the waters have made headway by recovering debris, passengers' belongings, body parts, luggage and aircraft seats from the jet, that initially went 'missing' and was later declared crashed.
Smoke was detected inside the cabin of the Airbus A320 minutes before it plunged into the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board, that includes children.
Egypt's military displayed wreckage and personal belongings yesterday. The chunks of debris included an uninflated life vest, a seat, a purse, shoes, carpet, a scarf, parts of chairs and cushions and a sling bag. The EgyptAir label appeared on one piece of wreckage.
Reports said the first available audio from the plane showed the pilot in normal contact with Swiss air traffic controllers, hours before officials lost contact with the jet.
Control: "EgyptAir804 contact Padova 1-2-0, decimal 7-2-5, good night."
Pilot: "This is 0-7-2-5 Padova control. (Unintelligible) 8-0-4. Thank you so much. Good day, er, good night."
CBS News, quoting an Egyptian government source, reported that search crews located the data recorders close to an area where human remains and debris from the crashed flight were found. The report further said there has been no official confirmation, and EgyptAir would not confirm or deny that the black boxes have been located.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, meanwhile, told CNN that it was not clear how long the searchers will take to recover the cockpit voice and flight data recorders - the so-called black boxes - to shed crucial information about what was going on during the final moments before the crash.
"We do not, I think, have the technical abilities to operate in such deep waters, whereas many of our partners might have this facility," he said, referring to the US, France, Britain, Russia and others cooperating in the search. PTI SAI AKJ