US: EgyptAir imagery shows no signs of blast
WASHINGTON—A US review of satellite imagery so far has not produced any signs of an explosion aboard the EgyptAir flight that crashed on Friday en route from Paris to Cairo, carryig 66 people on board, officials from multiple US agencies told Reuters.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the conclusion was the result of a preliminary examination of imagery and cautioned against media reports suggesting the United States believed a bomb was responsible for the crash.
The United States has not ruled out any possible causes for the crash, including mechanical failure, terrorism or a deliberate act by the pilot or crew, they said.
Meanwhile, EgyptAir said Thursday that wreckage from its passenger plane that crashed into the Mediterranean early in the day has been found.
“The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has just received an official letter from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that confirms the finding of wreckage of the missing aircraft No. MS 804,” it said in English on its Twitter account.
It added: “The Egyptian Investigation Team in co-operation with the Greek counterpart are still searching for other remains of the missing plane.”
On Thursday evening, EgyptAir also offered its condolences to the families of the victims.
However, Greek defense sources said the material found so far floating in the Mediterranean in its search for the missing EgyptAir airliner is not blue and white.
Earlier, Egypt’s envoy to France said Greek authorities had informed his counterpart in Athens that they had found debris corresponding to EgyptAir’s blue and white colors.
“We have not located such objects,” a spokesman for the Greek military said. Earlier, Greek defense sources said objects found floating about 230 miles south of the island of Crete included what appeared to be plastic colored red and white, and lifejackets. Sisi demands intensified search
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also demanded authorities “intensify the search” for EgyptAir’s wreckage. “The president has issued instructions to all concerned state bodies, including the ministry of civil aviation... naval and air forces to intensify the search for the Egyptian plane and to take all necessary measures to find the plane debris,” said the statement. Before Sisi’s orders, Reuters reported two Greek government sources as saying on Thursday that Athens will scale back search and rescue assets deployed to find the missing airliner after objects thought to be from the aircraft were found in waters under Egyptian jurisdiction.
Greece had deployed a frigate and air assets to the area south of the island of Karpathos. A transport aircraft would remain in the area.
Greek authorities earlier reported the aircraft took a sharp 90 degree turn left, and then spun 360 degrees in the opposite direction as it plunged from cruising altitude of 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet before disappearing off radars.
As search continues for the missing plane for Flight MS804, speculation mounted that the jet was downed by a terrorist attack. The head of Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, Alexander Bortnikov said he thought that the jet had been downed by terrorists. “Apparently, it is a terrorist attack,” Bortnikov was cited as saying by Russia’s TASS news agency. Egyptian aviation minister Sherif Fathy also weighed in, saying at a press conference that “possibility of [the doomed EgyptAir flight] having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem],” he said.
Greek authorities are combing their waters in an attempt to locate aircraft wreckage. Military spokesman Vassilis Beletsiotis said that “there have been finds southeast of Crete, inside the Cairo flight information area.” He added that an Egyptian C-130 plane had spotted the floating objects, and ships would be sent to investigate.
The EgyptAir flight 804 from Paris to Cairo with 56 passengers and 10 crew on board went missing in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning. The airline said Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo vanished 2:45 a.m. Egypt time. The plane was an Airbus A320 and that its last known position was above the Mediterranean Sea, reportedly flying at a height of 37,000 ft.—Agencies