EgyptAir Crash: Debris from flight MS804 found
Debris from the missing EgyptAir flight has been found floating in the Mediterranean.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew when it vanished early on Thursday.
Egypt’s army spokesman said wreckage and passenger belongings had been found 290km (180 miles) from Alexandria.
Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said a body part, two seats and at least one European Space Agency satellites spotted an oil slick in the area where the flight had vanished but the organisation said there was no guarantee it was from the missing plane.
The search is now focused on finding the plane’s flight recorders, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has expressed his “utmost sadness and regret” at the crash.
Greek, Egyptian, French and UK military units have been taking part in a search operation near Greece’s Karpathos island.
Greece said radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
In October, an Airbus A321 operated by Russia’s Metrojet blew up over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with all 224 people on board killed.
Sinai Province, a local affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist group, said it had smuggled a bomb on board.
Flight MS804 left Paris at 23:09 local time on Wednesday (21:09 GMT) and was scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital soon after 03:15 local time (01:15 GMT) on Thursday.
On the plane were 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel.
Greek aviation officials say air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot when he entered Greek airspace and everything appeared normal.
They tried to contact him again at 02:27 Cairo time, as the plane was set to enter Egyptian airspace, but “despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond”. Two minutes later it vanished from radar.
The Associated Press (AP) reported that an EgyptAir official says more wreckage of the missing plane has been found, including body parts, luggage and passengers’ seats.
A statement by the Civil Aviation Ministry quotes the unnamed official from EgyptAir as saying that the Egyptian armed forces yesterday retrieved more plane wreckage, including some of the passengers’ belongings, body parts, luggage, and plane seats.
The official says the search continues.
Earlier in the day, the Egyptian army said that wreckage was found 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of the port city Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast.
A terror analyst who is in contact with members of the Islamic State group and other jihadist groups says there have been “no credible or even semi-credible” claims of responsibility for the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804.
Shiraz Maher at the International Center for the Study of Radicalisation in London says IS on Thursday released a 20-minute video about how they planned to conquer India. He says: “If they had been involved in the crash, it would be very odd for them to have sent that video rather than boasting of the crash.”
Maher said both the Islamic State and al-Qaida affiliates have been quick to claim responsibility in the past for other plane crashes, though he said the wreckage is a better indicator of whether the crash was terror-related.
Maher also said it would be highly unusual to target a plane with mostly Muslim passengers, as EgyptAir’s leaked passenger manifest has suggested.
Three European security officials say the passenger manifest contained no known names on current terror watch lists.
The passenger manifest was leaked online and has not been officially verified by EgyptAir.
An Egyptian paper is quoting the country’s civil aviation minister as telling the relatives of the victims of the EgyptAir crash that there are “no survivors.”
Among the victims of the crash were Salah Abu Laban, his wife Sahar Qouidar, their son Ghassan Abu Laban and daughter-in-law Reem al-Sebaei.
Their relative, Abdel-Rahman al-Nasry, told AP that “this is very hard for the family.”
A friend of the family, Magdi Badr, says: “We pray for the victims.”
The Egyptian presidency has expressed its “deep sadness and extreme regret” over the deaths of the 66 passengers and crew members aboard EgyptAir Flight 804.
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