The Egyptian investigative committee said in a statement that the signals were detected by specialized locator equipment on board the French vessel La Place from the seabed in the Mediterranean Sea.
Later, the director of the BEA, France's air accident investigation agency, confirmed the signals were from one of the recorders on the plane. "The signal of a beacon from a flight recorder could be detected. ... The detection of this signal is a first step," BEA Director Remy Jouty said in a statement, according to an agency spokesman.
The Airbus A320 with 66 people on board crashed in the Mediterranean on May 19 on a flight from Paris to Cairo. Since then, authorities have been trying their best to locate the wreckage of the plane and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
Authorities are hopeful of locating the data recorders, so a specialized vessel managed by the Deep Ocean Search company can then retrieve them, the investigative committee said, adding that vessel is set to join the search team within a week.
This is not the first time that a signal has been detected by investigators. Last week an investigator claimed that Airbus had detected signals from the plane's Emergency Locator Transmitter, a device that can manually or automatically activate at impact and will usually send a distress signal.
An Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry official said once the black boxes will be found, they will be brought to Cairo. He added that this is the standard procedure.