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EgyptAir crash: More wreckage found north of Alexandria

Egyptian armed forces retrieve some of the passengers' belongings, body parts, luggage, and plane seats.


An EgyptAir official says more wreckage of the missing flight MS804 has been found, including body parts, luggage and passengers' seats, the Associated Press news agency has reported.

A statement by the Civil Aviation Ministry quoted the unnamed official from EgyptAir as saying that the Egyptian armed forces on Friday retrieved more plane wreckage, including some of the passengers' belongings, body parts, luggage, and plane seats.

The official said the search was continuing to locate the rest of the plane and the black boxes to determine what exactly happened.

Earlier in the day, the Egyptian army said that wreckage was found 290km north of the port city Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast.

The plane disappeared over the Mediterranean with 66 people on board early on Thursday.

"Egyptian aircraft and navy vessels have found personal belongings of passengers and parts of the wreckage 290 kilometres [180 miles] north of Alexandria," a military spokesman said on his Facebook page.

READ MORE: Families wait for answers after EgyptAir flight goes missing

A body part, seats, and one or more items of luggage were found by search crews, Greece's defence minister said.

"A few hours earlier we were informed [by Egyptian authorities] that a body part, two seats, and one or more items of luggage where found in the search area" off the coast of Alexandria, Panos Kammenos told a news conference.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed his condolences on Friday to the families of victims.

"The presidency with utmost sadness and regret mourns the victims aboard the EgyptAir flight who were killed after the plane crashed in the Mediterranean on its way back to Cairo from Paris," Sisi's office said in a statement.

The search intensified on Friday, a day after Egypt's aviation minister said while it was too soon to say why the Airbus A320 flying from Paris to Cairo had vanished from radar screens, a "terrorist" attack would be a more likely scenario than a technical failure.

The tragedy raised fears of a repeat of the bombing of a Russian passenger jet by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group over Egypt last October that killed 224 people.

The plane disappeared between the Greek islands and the Egyptian coast without a distress signal from its crew.

Kammenos said the aircraft swerved sharply twice in Egyptian air space before plunging 6,700 metres.

Aviation analyst Tobias Rueckerl saidit was likely the searchers would find the black box quickly after locating the crash site, which could shed more light on what happened to the ill-fated aircraft.

"Basically we will have all the details up to the fatal event," Rueckerl said. "If anything happened in the cockpit, it is likely they will hear it on the voice recorder. We don't know the cause of the crash right now."

Both Egypt and Greece dispatched aircraft and naval vessels. They were expected to be joined by French teams, while the US sent a surveillance plane to help with the operation.

READ MORE: Search stepped up for missing EgyptAir flight

Richard Marquise, a former FBI agent who led the US task force investigating the Lockerbie bombing, said that Egypt was quick to point to an attack, unlike France.

"It's becoming a game of finger-pointing about who's responsible, whether it's a mechanical failure of EgyptAir, or a terrorist bomb on the aircraft," he said.

He added this was in contrast to the October 2015 Metrojet bombing, when Egypt was more reluctant than Russia to point to a possible attack. In that case, Egyptian authorities were responsible for security as the city of Sharm el Sheikh was the departure point.

Officials from a number of US agencies told Reuters news agency that reviews of satellite imagery so far had not produced any signs of an explosion. They said the United States had not ruled out any possible causes of the crash, including mechanical failure, terrorism, or a deliberate act by the pilot or crew.

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