Debris found from missing EgyptAir plane

A relative of a passenger on an EgyptAir flight that crashed early Thursday puts her hand on the window from inside a bus at Cairo International Airport, Egypt, Thursday, May 19, 2016.Image copyright

Image caption

Relatives of some of the victims gathered at Cairo airport on Thursday, and some remained on Friday

Debris from the missing EgyptAir flight has been found floating in the Mediterranean, Egyptian officials say.

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 suitcase had been found.

The items were found slightly to the south of the area where the plane disappeared from radars on Thursday, Mr Kammenos said.

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.

  • Live: Latest updates
  • Who were the victims?
  • Crash fuels fears and theories
  • EgyptAir’s troubled recent history

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.

The focus of the investigation

Egypt says the plane was more likely to have been brought down by a terrorist act than a technical fault.

However, there has been “absolutely no indication” so far as to why the plane came down, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday morning.

Three investigators from the French air accident investigation bureau, along with a technical adviser from Airbus, have joined the Egyptian inquiry.

In France, the focus is on whether a possible breach of security happened at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

After last November’s Paris attacks, some airport staff had their security clearance revoked over fears of links to Islamic extremists.

Eric Moutet, a lawyer for some of those employees, told the BBC that there had been attempts by Islamists to recruit airport staff.

“That is clear,” he said. “There are people who are being radicalised in some of the trade unions, etc. The authorities have their work cut out with this problem.”

Media captionAviation experts give their views on what may have happened to EgyptAir flight MS804

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.

What do we know about what happened?

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.

Media captionWhat happened to flight MS804? Richard Westcott examines the evidence so far

Who were the victims?


people on board – 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel

  • 30 Egyptians

  • 15 French citizens

  • 2 Iraqis

  • 1 from Britain, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan, Chad and Portugal

Image copyright
Athena Picture Agency

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Richard Osman was a father of two and of Egyptian origin

The names of some of those who were on board have emerged, but most have not been identified publicly.

Those on board included:

  • Richard Osman, a 40-year-old geologist and father-of-two from South Wales;
  • Canadian national Marwa Hamdy, a mother-of-three and an executive with IBM originally from Saskatchewan, but who had relocated to Cairo;
  • Pascal Hess, a photographer from Normandy, France, who had lost his passport last week – only for it to be found in the street, allowing him to catch the flight;
  • An unnamed couple in their 40s from Angers in north-west France, as well as their two children;
  • Ahmed Helal, the Egyptian-born manager of a Procter and Gamble plant in Amiens, northern France

Read more on some of the MS804 victims here

If anyone is concerned about relatives or friends following the disappearance of the flight, they can call this free number provided by EgyptAir: +202 259 89320

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