Human Remains, Plane Seat, Luggage Found Near Where EgyptAir Flight Disappeared, Greek Officials Say
The military is scouring a wide area south of the Greek island of Crete.
By EMILY SHAPIRO and BRIAN MCBRIDE
May 20, 2016, 3:51 PM
• 7 min read
-- Human remains, an airplane seat and luggage were found about 5 miles south of where an EgyptAir flight lost contact with radar and went missing over the Mediterranean Sea, a Greek official said today.
Wreckage and passenger belongings were spotted about 180 miles north off the coast of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egyptian officials said, and an airline official said later today that Egyptian military and marine forces discovered more debris, passengers’ belongings, body parts, luggage and aircraft seats, but the search is still in progress.
A "potential oil slick" from the plane was also spotted by a satellite in the area where the aircraft went missing, the European Space Agency said today.
The missing plane was en route to Cairo from Paris when it disappeared early Thursday with 66 aboard. The plane lost contact with the radar tracking system at 2:45 a.m. at an altitude of 37,000 feet, according to EgyptAir.
Search teams today are scouring a wide area south of the Greek island of Crete for signs of the Airbus A320, Greece's Ministry of National Defense said this morning, while Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi later said that investigations are continuing "to establish the truth and the causes of the crash."
Egyptian officials said earlier the incident was more likely caused by terrorism than a technical problem.
"I don’t want to go to assumptions like others, but if you analyze the situation properly, the possibility...of having a terror attack is higher than having a technical [failure,]" Egyptian aviation minister Sherif Fathi told reporters Thursday.
U.S. officials said its government satellites have shown no indications of an explosion along the flight path.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane swerved wildly before plummeting into the sea, according to The Associated Press.
But the Egyptian military says no distress call was received from the pilot.
Grieving relatives gathered at Cairo International Airport Thursday, awaiting any word on whether the plane would be found.
French President François Hollande said during a news conference in Paris, "When we have the truth, we need to draw all the conclusions."
"At this stage, we must give priority to solidarity with the families [of the victims,]" Hollande said.
Among the 66 people on board, there was one child, two infants, three EgyptAir security personnel and seven crew members, said the airline.
An Egypt Air spokesman said the flight officers were pilot Mohammed Shukair and co-pilot Mohamed Assem.
U.S. officials confirmed there were no Americans on the flight. Both Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House expressed their condolences to the victims of the tragedy.