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Search Continue for Bodies in Red Sea Plane Crash

Search Goes on for Bodies, Wreckage of Red Sea Plane Crash

France was in mourning for the 133 French tourists killed on their way home from a New Year's winter break in Egypt when the Boeing 737 plunged into the sea off Sharm el-Sheikh before dawn on Saturday. Some 2,000 people attended a memorial mass in Paris' Notre Damme Cathedral for victims of the worst air disaster ever to hit France in terms of nationals killed.

Victims' families will arrive late Wednesday at the site of the crash. French envoy Renaud Muselier and Egyptian officials dropped wreaths of flowers into the waters of the Red Sea while prayers were said in a Sharm el-Sheikh mosque for the 13 Egyptian crew. Meanwhile, both countries continued the search for wreckage and remains of people.

A French anti-submarine radar-equipped frigate, was due to arrive on Monday evening to help in the search for the "black box" flight recorders, which should help explain what went wrong with the plane in the minutes after it took off. France already mobilised specialist divers, plane crash investigators and other experts to the resort. spokeswoman for the U.S. company Boeing, makers of the 11-year-old plane, said its investigators were heading for the crash site.

French junior transport minister Dominique Bussereau said the crash resembles a typical accident on takeoff, but he refused at this point to rule out any other possible causes, including a terrorist attack.

The Egyptian authorities say they have ruled out an attack and insist the cause was wholly technical. Switzerland said it had banned Cairo-based charter company Flash Airlines from its airspace more than a year ago.

In Athens, airport officials disclosed that one of the airline's two 737s had been forced to make an emergency landing there the same month after experiencing problems. And a Flash Airlines plane linking Rome with Paris also made an emergency landing in Geneva just over a year ago. But the maintenance division of Norwegian airline Braathens said the ill-fated aircraft was in good shape when it left its workshops following a major overhaul 13 months ago although the engines were not covered by the work.

The Flash Airlines company said the plane which crashed had a new engine installed last March that proves the plane was well maintained.

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