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Egypt sends submarine in search for jet’s black boxes

CAIRO — Egypt has deployed a submarine to help find the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804 in the deep Mediterranean waters where it crashed, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Sunday, as he warned that it might take a “long time” before the cause of the crash was determined.

An international flotilla of search ships, aided by surveillance planes, is scouring a section of sea 180 miles north of the port city of Alexandria, and retrieved some wreckage, belongings and human remains over the weekend.

But the search crews have yet to locate the main body of the plane and its cockpit data and voice recorders, commonly known as the black boxes, which they hope will explain what caused the Airbus A320 carrying 66 people to plunge from the sky as it traveled from Paris to Cairo early Thursday.

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A statement from the Islamic State on Saturday failed to mention the EgyptAir crash, confounding speculation that the group, which claimed to have been behind the crash of a Russian airliner in Sinai in October, might have been responsible.

Although Egyptian officials initially pointed to terrorism as the most likely cause of the crash, Sissi said Sunday that all possibilities were being considered. “All hypotheses are possible,” he said. “Please let’s not jump to any conclusions.”

So far, the strongest clues have come from signals emitted by the stricken plane indicating that several smoke detectors were activated as it hurtled toward the sea.

The French air aviation authority said that while those transmissions provided evidence of a catastrophic systems failure inside the plane, they did not provide enough information to determine what caused the crash.