Egyptian military 'finds EgyptAir wreckage'

Egyptian military 'finds EgyptAir wreckage'
Video: The remains of the EgyptAir plane that disappeared from radar in mysterious circumstances has been found, reports the Egyptian army.
3 min read
The Egyptian military's search team has said it has found the remains of the EgyptAir plane which crashed on Thursday with 66 passengers aboard, in what many analysts suspect was a terrorist attack.

EgyptAir announced on Friday that the military had discovered debris and baggage from the plane 295km (180 miles) off the coast of Alexandria early on Friday.

The airlines gave its condolences to the families of the victims of the crash and said it was taking all necessary measures in the handling of the situation.

Mystery still surrounds the cause of the crash, after the plane lost contact with radar monitoring early on Thursday morning en route from Paris to Cairo.

Search teams were still scouring a huge area south of the Greek island of Crete to search for wreckage, more than 24 hours after the Airbus 320 disappeared.

France, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the UK all supported Egypt's search effort.

Egyptian airport officials said that three French and three British investigators, and an AirBus technical expert, had arrived in Cairo to join an investigation into the plane crash.

The Egyptian military released footage of search boats taking part in the operation.

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EgyptAir had announced on Thursday that wreckage from the plane had been found floating at sea off the island of Karpathos, north-east of Crete, only to backtrack after Greece denied any debris had been found.

The search for aircraft debris has begun to illustrate just how many lifejackets and pieces of wreckage are littering the southern Mediterranean in the wake of the refugee crisis, which has seen the deaths of thousands in the waters south of Europe.  

The aircraft was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two infants, seven crew and three security officers. They included 30 Egyptian and 15 French nationals, along with nationals from 10 other countries.

The Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane had swerved wildly before plummeting into the sea.

The Egyptian military said that no distress call was received from the pilot. The country's aviation minister Sherif Fathy said the likelihood the plane was brought down by a terror attack was "higher than the possibility of a technical failure."

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Yet France's foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault asserted on Friday that there is "absolutely no indication" of what caused the crash.

The junior minister for transport, Alain Vidalies, said that "no theory is favoured" at this stage and urged "the greatest caution."

Amid fears the plane was downed by an extremist attack, Vidalies defended security at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport, saying staff badges were revoked if there was the slightest security doubt.

Families of the victims spent the night in a Cairo hotel while they awaited the news of their loved ones. Egyptian officials said some arrived from Paris late on Thursday, among them eight French relatives of the 15 French passengers on board the missing jet.

The tragedy has raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State group over Egypt last October that killed all 224 people on board.

EgyptAir has set up a toll-free number for passengers' relatives: 080077770000