Egyptian military officials confirmed Friday morning that they had found debris floating in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to EgyptAir flight 804 that went missing on Thursday.
Over 24 hours after EgyptAir flight 804 lost contact, the Egyptian navy has been searching the Mediterranean for any sign of the plane. Early Friday morning, around 290 kilometers north of Alexandria, officials found debris floating in the water believed to have been from the EgyptAir MS804. Upon further inspection, the debris — which included luggage, two passenger seats, and at least one body part — was confirmed to have come from the downed plane. Authorities are now concentrating their efforts on finding the Airbus’ black box to help determine exactly what happened on the flight after it disappeared from radar around 2:45 a.m. local time Thursday.
What is known is that EgyptAir flight 804 left Paris at 11:09 p.m. local time, and was scheduled to land in Cairo at 3:15 a.m. According to Greek aviation officials, air traffic control spoke to the pilot when the Airbus entered Greek airspace, and nothing was amiss. Air traffic control attempted to contact the pilot again at 2:27 a.m., as they were about to enter Egyptian airspace, but could not reach him.
“Despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond.”
Before EgyptAir flight 804 lost contact in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said that their radar showed the plane had swerved wildly, made two sharp turns, and plunged 25,000 feet before finally crashing into the sea, but not much else is known of the crash. Early Friday morning, three French investigators and a technical expert from Airbus arrived in Cairo to aid in the investigation of the missing EgyptAir plane. The debris and belongings from EgyptAir MS804 that have thus far been found will be inspected by officials from Egypt, France, and the U.K., as well as by analysts from Airbus.
Though the cause of EgyptAir flight 804’s crash is not known at this time, many are speculating that it was a terrorist attack. Egyptian military officials have said that they received no distress calls prior to the loss of communication — which they likely would have had it been a technical malfunction — and, according to CBC News, Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi has said that the likelihood the cause of the crash was a terror attack was “higher than the possibility of a technical failure.” Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, however, has said that it is too early to speculate the cause of the crash. As of this writing, no Islamist militant group has claimed responsibility for the downing of the EgyptAir flight.
In October, a Russian Airbus was blown up over Egyptian airspace, and all 224 people on board were killed. Shortly after the crash, Sinai Province, a local group affiliated with the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the tragedy, saying that they had smuggled a bomb on board the plane.
Following the Paris attacks last November, some airport staff members had their security clearance revoked due to fears of potential links to terrorist organizations. After Thursday’s EgyptAir crash — which left Paris en route to Cairo — French officials have been focusing their investigation on the possibility that a security breach had occurred at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. Extremists had previously attempted to recruit airport staff, says Eric Moutet — a lawyer for some employees of the airport — and officials worry this could have been the case with Thursday’s EgyptAir crash as well, reports the BBC.
“That is clear. There are people who are being radicalised in some of the trade unions, etc. The authorities have their work cut out with this problem.”
While Egyptian and Greek military continue to scour the dark waters of the Mediterranean in search of more debris belonging to EgyptAir flight 804, the debris that has already been found will hopefully be able to shed some light onto how such a tragedy happened.
[AP Photo/Thomas Ranner]