Search Continues for Missing EgyptAir Flight Amid Reports of Possible Debris

"Our main concern right now is taking care of the family and friends of all those who perished," say officials

Photo: Amr Nabil/AP

Debris found near the Greek island of Karpathos has not been confirmed as missing EgyptAir Flight MS804 wreckage, as previous reports suggested.

The passenger plane was traveling from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard, when it swerved abruptly and vanished from traffic control radar early Thursday morning in what officials say could be a potential terrorist attack.

Athanasios Binis, the head of the Greek air safety authority, reportedly told Agence France-Presse that the debris “does not come from a plane.”

“Our main concern right now is taking care of the family and friends of all those who perished. We are now in the process of contacting next of kin. Once that process is complete, we will release the passenger manifest,” EgyptAir Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel told CNN.

Egyptian officials suggest that a terrorist attack is more likely to have been the cause of the plane’s disappearance than is a technical problem.

“We do not deny there is a possibility of terrorism or deny the possibility of technical fault. I will continue to use the term missing plane until we find any debris,” Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi said at a Cairo news conference.

At the same conference he said, “If you analyze this situation properly, the possibility of having different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem.”

U.S. government officials are operating under the belief that EgyptAir Flight MS804 was taken down by a bomb – although this theory could change with further investigations, reports CNN.

The aircraft left Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday night for what should have been a three-hour flight. The plane was flying at 37,000 feet over a Greek island when it went missing. Fifty-six passengers were aboard with 10 cabin crew members and security officers. None of the passengers were American, reports CNN.

Weather conditions were clear and calm in the area at the time, according to CBS.

A Greek official said the aircraft made two abrupt turns, swerving “90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right” before plunging first to 15,000 feet and then 10,000 feet before vanishing from the radar completely.

Little is known about the fate of the passengers on the EgyptAir plane, but more than 30 relatives arrived at Cairo International Airport to await updates.

Father Athanious says his friend Amgad Adib was on the plane.

“He was like a brother and a son to me,” the priest said to news outlets at the scene.

Others took to social media to express their grief.

Ayman Nassar, a reported family member of one of the passengers says he was told not to believe any “rumors.”

“They told us the plane had disappeared, and that they’re still searching for it,” Nassar told Reuters.

“They haven’t told us anything,” the mother of a flight attendant told the publication through tears.

President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation and has been asked to be updated throughout the day as the situation warrants, PEOPLE confirms.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree 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 voiced his opinion on Twitter, “Looks like yet another terrorist attack,” he wrote. “When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!”

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