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The voice recorders from the plane that crashed in the Mediterranean were found Thursday.

June 16, 2016

Since EgyptAir 804 disappeared on May 19 with 66 passengers and crew onboard, there has been little in the way of answers or evidence.

On Thursday, however, Egyptian investigators said the plane’s emergency signal had been detected.  TIME reported the cockpit voice recorder had been located and surfaced from the depths of the Mediterranean.

Previously, only human remains, two seats, and a single suitcase had been found.

Now, the investigators will map the distribution of the debris — documenting the precise places the pieces of the aircraft ended up — to determine whether or not the aircraft broke up mid-air, or upon impact with the sea.

A deep-sea search vessel has also taken images of the primary wreckage sites.

Human or mechanical error could have caused the crash, and a terror attack has not been ruled out. The AV Herald reported that data from the plane indicated the smoke detectors went off in the lavatory and beneath the cockpit minutes before the aircraft disappeared from radar. 

Although Thursday's discovery is a step in the right direction, answers about what caused the tragedy could still be weeks or even months away.

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.

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