Crash flight recorder 'too deep'
From CNN Correspondent Chris Burns
A French robot submarine is aiding the search in the Red Sea.
Recovery crafts continue to search the Red Sea site of an air charter crash, and mourners drop flowers into the water. (January 4)
Egyptian charter plane crashes in the Red Sea.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (CNN) -- A French admiral says the flight data recorder from a charter jet that crashed last weekend is believed to be located deeper than searchers can dive.
The Flash Airlines jet, carrying 148 people, crashed into the Red Sea Saturday shortly after takeoff. Of those killed, 133 were French, and the French government has responded by providing search crews and equipment to aid the Egyptian government in recovery efforts.
Adm. Jacques Mazars of the French Navy said Tuesday a request had been made for equipment that is capable of diving to the 600 to 800 meter (0.4 - 0.5 mile) depth where the recorder is believed to be.
The French government has brought a robotic mini-submarine to the area but it can only dive to 400 meters.
Mazars said French searchers had heard more than one signal from the data recorder and had identified "a zone of strong probable presence."
Of the 133 French citizens killed, four also held American citizenships, U.S. and French officials said Tuesday.
Also killed in the crash were one Japanese, one Moroccan and 13 crew members. The four passengers with dual citizenships were members of a family of five.
The Flash Airlines Boeing 737 had been scheduled to fly to Cairo and then on to Paris. Officials said the aircraft took off at 4:45 a.m. Saturday (0245 GMT) from this Egyptian resort city, climbed to 5,000 feet, turned left as planned and then changed course before plunging into the sea -- with no word from the pilot during the 17-second fall.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was scheduled to arrive Sharm el-Sheikh on Wednesday. The families of the French victims were due to arrive Thursday for one of two memorial services -- one on land and one at sea.
The French government has said it will do all it can to recover the bodies, but officials indicated that for many victims, the Red Sea will be their final resting place.
At a Monday news conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq said the crash appeared to have resulted from a technical problem, and there was no indication of terrorist involvement. Maher called the crash a "tragic accident."
Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion, but officials said the body parts that have been found have indicated the plane broke apart on impact with the water and not from an explosion.
French Deputy Foreign Minister Renaud de Muselier refused to rule out the possibility of "criminal activity."
We have no objective reason to think it was a criminal act," he said. "We have technical and visual information from witnesses that make us think it was an accident. But now we have to find out why."