Hu­man Re­mains, Plane Seat, Lug­gage found near where Egyp­tAir Flight Dis­ap­peared, Greek Of­fi­cials say

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By EMILY SHAPIRO & BRIAN MCBRIDE

Hu­man re­mains, an air­plane seat and lug­gage were found about 5 miles south of where an Egyp­tAir flight lost con­tact with radar and went missing over the Mediter­ranean Sea, a Greek of­fi­cial said.

Wreck­age and pas­sen­ger be­long­ings were spot­ted about 180 miles north off the coast of the Mediter­ranean port city of Alexan­dria, Egyp­tian of­fi­cials said, and an air­line of­fi­cial said later that Egyp­tian mil­i­tary and marine forces dis­cov­ered more de­bris, pas­sen­gers’ be­long­ings, body parts, lug­gage and air­craft seats, but the search is still in progress.

A “po­ten­tial oil slick” from the plane was also spot­ted by a satel­lite in the area where the air­craft went missing, the Euro­pean Space Agency said.

The missing plane was en route to Cairo from Paris when it dis­ap­peared early Thurs­day May 19 with 66 aboard. The plane lost con­tact with the radar track­ing sys­tem at 2:45 a.m. at an al­ti­tude of 37,000 feet, ac­cord­ing to Egyp­tAir.

Search teams are scour­ing a wide area south of the Greek is­land of Crete for signs of the Air­bus A320, Greece’s Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense said, while Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah el-Sisi later said that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing “to es­tab­lish the truth and the causes of the crash.”

Egyp­tian of­fi­cials said ear­lier the in­ci­dent was more likely caused by ter­ror­ism than a tech­ni­cal prob­lem.

“I don’t want to go to as­sump­tions like oth­ers, but if you an­a­lyze the sit­u­a­tion prop­erly, the pos­si­bil­ity . . . of hav­ing a ter­ror at­tack is higher than hav­ing a tech­ni­cal [fail­ure],” Egyp­tian avi­a­tion min­is­ter Sherif Fathi told re­porters on Thurs­day.

U.S. of­fi­cials said gov­ern­ment satel­lites have shown no in­di­ca­tions of an ex­plo­sion along the flight path.

Greek De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos said the plane swerved wildly be­fore plum­met­ing into the sea, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press.

But the Egyp­tian mil­i­tary says no dis­tress call was re­ceived from the pi­lot.

Griev­ing rel­a­tives gath­ered at Cairo In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Thurs­day, await­ing any word on whether the plane would be found.

French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Paris, “When we have the truth, we need to draw all the con­clu­sions.”

“At this stage, we must give pri­or­ity to sol­i­dar­ity with the fam­i­lies [of the vic­tims],” Hol­lande said.

Among the 66 peo­ple on board there was one child, two in­fants, three Egyp­tAir se­cu­rity per­son­nel and seven crew mem­bers, said the air­line.

An Egyp­tAir spokesman said the flight of­fi­cers were pi­lot Mo­hammed Shukair and co-pi­lot Mo­hamed Assem.

U.S. of­fi­cials con­firmed there were no Amer­i­cans on the flight. Both Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and the White House ex­pressed their con­do­lences to the vic­tims of the tragedy.

Rel­a­tives of pas­sen­gers on a van­ished Egyp­tAir flight grieve as they leave the in-flight ser­vice build­ing where they were held at Cairo In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Egypt, May 19, 2016.

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