The Egyptian military said on Friday it had found parts of debris from the EgyptAir plane, which crashed a day earlier, 290 kilometers north of the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria.
The navy has also found some of the passengers’ belongings and is sweeping the area looking for the plane’s black box, Egyptian army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
Greece’s defense minister Panos Kammenos later told reporters in Athens that Egyptian authorities found luggage, a seat and a body part during the search for the EgyptAir jet.
“A short while ago we were briefed by the Egyptian authorities … on the discovery of a body part, a seat and baggage just south of where the aircraft signal was lost,” said Kammenos.
Egyptian airport officials said that three French and three British investigators and an Airbus technical expert have arrived in Cairo to join the probe into the crash of the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew from different nationalities.
Kammenos said flight MS804, an Airbus A320 that was heading from Paris to Cairo, swerved radically and plunged from 37,000 feet to 15,000 before vanishing from Greek radar screens.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said it was too early to rule out any explanation for the disaster, while the country’s aviation minister said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical failure.
Yet France’s foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault asserted Friday on France-2 television that there is “absolutely no indication” of what caused the crash.
The junior minister for transport, Alain Vidalies, said on France-Info radio that “no theory is favored” at this stage and urged “the greatest caution.”
The Egyptian military said that no distress call was received from the pilot.
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 on 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.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also told Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that Washington would continue to pledge support for the investigation and search of the plane.
Kerry offered Shoukry condolences for the lives lost in the crash and promised to stay in close contact as the investigation progresses, the department said in a statement.