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EgyptAir official: 'We have found the wreckage'

5 months 3 days 17 hours ago May 19, 2016 May 19, 2016 Thursday, May 19 2016 May 19, 2016 10:26 AM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: APNewsNow

CAIRO, Egypt - EgyptAir Vice President Ahmed Adel told CNN Thursday that searchers have found the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804.

Officials say EgyptAir Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday with 66 people on board.

The head of Russia's top domestic security agency says the crashed Egyptian jet has apparently been brought down by a terror attack. Alexander Bortnikov said on Thursday that "in all likelihood it was a terror attack," according to Russian news agencies.

Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, called for a joint action to track down those responsible for that "monstrous attack."

Last October, a Russian plane flying from Egypt crashed into the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device

Egypt's former civil aviation minister says that if it's confirmed the EgyptAir plane swerved before it crashed, this means that "something happened that forced the pilots to lose control over the plane."

Mustafa Kamel told The Associated Press that the debris from the plane and the black box, if recovered, could help uncover "what happened that forced the pilot to lose control."

Kamel says passenger planes are not designed to make a 360-degree swerves while in flight and that something like that is "disproportionate" to a passenger plane's design.

He says that "these are not warplanes."

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff, an expert on aerospace systems and emerging weapons technologies at the University of Notre Dame, says while it's too early to tell for certain, a structural failure for the Airbus A320 plane is "vanishingly improbable."

He says "a plane in straight and level flight at 37,000 feet is a pretty benign situation."

Latiff says "sabotage is possible, and if there were lax controls at airports and loose hiring and security policies, increasingly likely."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expressing his "condolences to Egypt and to all other countries" affected by the disappearance of EgyptAir 804 over the Mediterranean.

Speaking Thursday at NATO headquarters outside of Brussels, Kerry says "the United States is providing assistance in the search effort and relevant authorities are doing everything they can to try to determine what the facts are of what happened."

He says "but we certainly extend our condolences to each and every country that has lost people and particularly to Egypt."

Among passengers on missing EgyptAir Flight 804 was a student training at a French military school who was heading to his family home in Chad to mourn his mother.

The protocol officer for Chad's embassy in Paris, Muhammed Allamine, said the man "was going to give condolences to his family." Allamine said the man, who wasn't identified, was a student at France's prestigious Saint-Cyr army academy.

Another passenger on the flight was an Egyptian man returning home after medical treatment in France, according to two shocked friends who turned up at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

"It breaks my heart," said one friend, Madji Samaan.

Passengers arriving for the 3:45 p.m. EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo faced heavy gray curtains drawn over the departure hall and journalists waiting outside. Most of those interviewed stayed stoic, saying it didn't make sense to cancel their plane trip out of fear - even if many acknowledged being a little rattled.

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