Cairo, May 20 (IANS) Egyptian armed forces on Friday said they found debris from an EgyptAir plane carrying 66 people from Paris to Cairo that disappeared over the Mediterranean the previous day, but the search was continuing to locate its final resting place.
EgyptAir has confirmed the report and offered its condolences to the families of those presumed dead on board the aircraft, CNN reported.
“EgyptAir mourns the families of the flight 804 victims and expresses its deep regret for this tragic incident,” the airline tweeted.
According to Egyptian military spokesman Brigadier General Mohammad Samir, passenger belongings and parts of Flight MS804 were found 290 km north of the coastal city of Alexandria.
The plane left Paris at 11.09 on Wednesday night and was scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital soon at 3.15 a.m on Thursday. It disappeared from the radar screens at 2.30 a.m.
On board the plane were 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel.
“The airline confirms that it is taking all necessary measures to deal with the situation on all fronts,” EgyptAir said.
The Egyptian ministry of defence confirmed finding bodies, debris and baggage five miles south of where it went off the radar.
The navy also found some of the passengers’ belongings and is sweeping the area looking for the plane’s black box, the ministry said in a statement.
Egyptian, French and British investigators as well as an expert from AirBus will probe the debris.
Egypt has been leading the search effort, with support from France, Greece and Turkey.
The US navy has dispatched a P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from a base in Sicily, The Guardian reported.
The plane, built in 2003, made “sudden swerves” before dropping off the radar, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammeno said.
It made a 90-degree turn left, and then dropped from 11,000 to 2,500 metres (36,000 to 8,000 ft) before swerving 360 degrees right, he said.
Its captain, Mohamed Said Shoukair, had 6,275 flying hours’ experience. He did not send a distress signal.