EgyptAir Crash: Everything We Know So Far

Passenger remains from EgyptAir Flight found in Mediterranean Sea, terrorism suspected

Photo: Amr Nabil/AP

EgyptAir Flight 804 was flying from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers aboard early Thursday morning when it swerved abruptly and vanished altogether from traffic control radar.

After hours of searching, Egyptian authorities spotted human remains and passengers’ personal belongings from the Airbus 320 jetliner in the Mediterranean Sea, according to reports.

The tragic crash has left somber relatives questioning the cause of the crash – was it a technical problem with the plane? Or was it a terrorist attack?

As authorities continue to investigate the chilling and mysterious incident, here’s a look at everything we know so far about the plane’s disappearance.

The plane lost contact with traffic control at 2:30 a.m.

The flight departed from Charles De Gauelle airport at 11:09 p.m. in what should have been a routine 3. 5 hour flight. At 2:26 a.m. the pilot spoke with controllers in Greece – and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Minutes later their connection was broken. The plane entered Egyptian airspace at 2:37 p.m., made a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right and plunged to 15,000 feet, Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos said during a Thursday news conference.

Egyptian naval crews discovered debris on Friday

Search teams found a human body part, two seats and suitcases from Airbus 320 about 180 miles north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria as they scoured the Mediterranean Sea for the passenger plane. The discovery has allowed authorities looking for leads on the crash to focus their search on a 40 square mile area, reports The New York Times. No bulk wreckage has been found.

Terrorism is the leading theory

No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the crash, but Egyptian and Western officials cite terrorism as a likely cause. “We do not deny there is a possibility of terrorism or deny the possibility of technical fault If you analyze the situation properly, the possibility of having different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem,” Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi said at a Cairo news conference. Officials warn that there is no direct evidence suggesting there was a bomb aboard the plane or suspicious activity. Initial checks of the passenger manifesto did not reveal any names on terror watch lists, CNN reports.

None of the passengers were American

Most of the passengers were Egyptian – 30 in total. There were also 15 French citizens aboard and passengers from Iraq, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Canada and Algeria. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi offered his condolences on Friday. Sisi “with utmost sadness and regret, mourns the victims on board the EgyptAir flight who were killed,” the president’s office said in a statement.

Osman Abu Laban lost four extended family members in the crash. In a Facebook post, the Lebanese film director announced the loss of his aunt, uncle, their son and the son’s wife. “Oh God, be merciful to them, forgive them and make their abode the highest heaven,” he wrote.

U.S. is involved in the search

Along with Greece, France and other nations, the United States was searching 130 nautical miles southeast of the Greek island of Karpathos, Greek aviation officials confirmed to CNN. The U.S. has three P-3 Orion aircrafts involved in the search, with more expected to relieve them on Friday and Saturday.

President Barack Obama is being updated as the situation warrants, PEOPLE confirmed. Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have spoken out about the plane’s disappearance – both in agreement that the crash is likely an act of terror.

“It does appear that it was an act of terrorism. Exactly how, of course, the investigation will determine,” Clinton told CNN.

Trump Tweeted a statement on Thursday. “Looks like yet another terrorist attack. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!” he wrote.

Further Investigation

An Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry has formed an investigative team led by Ayman al-Moqadem to look into the crash. Technical safety investigators and technical airplane manufacturer experts will examine the flight crew, ground crew and anyone with access to the plane, reports CNN. Officials say plane wreckage, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder will be key in discovering the truth of what happened to flight MS804.

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