CAIRO (UPI) — Investigators on Friday said they located debris and passengers’ belongings from missing EgyptAir Flight MS804 in the Mediterranean Sea.
Flight MS804, an Airbus 320 traveling from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board, is believed to have crashed into the sea as it entered Egyptian airspace early Thursday. The search for the plane has centered on the area of the Mediterranean Sea between the Greek island of Crete and the Egyptian coast. The plane’s flight recorder, or black box, has not been recovered.
“Egyptian aircraft and navy vessels have found personal belongings of passengers and parts of the wreckage 290 kilometers [180 miles] north of Alexandria,” a spokesman for the Egyptian military said.
He did not specify the nature of the aircraft parts.
The U.S. Navy joined the search Thursday afternoon, and a plane from its Sicily air base spotted several floating objects, including luggage and what is believed to be a passenger seat, a Greek rescue official told ABC News.
The search Friday followed a day of conflicting statements by officials. Debris found floating in the water Thursday was initially identified as parts of the plane by EgyptAir Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel, until he retracted his comments hours later.
Egyptian officials hinted terrorism may have been a factor in the incident. Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fahty said the possibility “of having a terror attack is higher than having a technical” failure, but U.S. officials noted no indications of an explosion were observed by government satellites.
The plane carried 56 passengers, two pilots, five cabin crew members and three security personnel. There were 30 Egyptians on board, as well as 15 from France, two from Iraq, and one each from Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada. U.S. officials confirmed there were no Americans aboard the plane.
The plane left Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday night, and last had contact with Greek air traffic control personnel at 2:48 a.m. Thursday. A futile attempt to contact the plane occurred at 3:27 a.m., and 12 minutes later the plane disappeared from radar screens as it left Greek airspace and entered Egyptian airspace
The Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, said the plane made “sudden swerves” as it descended, but the Egyptian military said it received no distress signals from the pilot.
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