PARIS - Signals from the flight data recorders of the Air France airliner that crashed into the Atlantic killing all 228 people on board have been located, Le Monde newspaper said on its website on Tuesday.
An Air France spokeswoman said she could not confirm the report. The Transport Ministry and the air accident investigation office could not be reached immediately for comment.
Le Monde said French naval vessels had picked up a weak signal from the flight recorders and that a mini submarine had been dispatched on Monday to try and find the "black boxes" on the bottom of the rugged ocean floor.
The "black boxes" may contain vital information that could help explain what happened when the Airbus A330 aircraft crashed into the sea en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1.
Locator beacons, known as "pingers", on the flight recorders send an electronic impulse every second for at least 30 days. The signal can be heard up to 2 km (1.2 miles) away.
French vessels involved in the search operation include a nuclear submarine with advanced sonar equipment and a research ship equipped with mini submarines.
The remote location in the Atlantic as well as the depth and surface of the ocean floor have made the search especially difficult and the wreckage could lie anywhere between a depth of 1 km (0.6 miles) and 4 km (2.5 miles).
(Writing by James Mackenzie, Editing by Ralph Gowling)