According to a statement by the Egyptian military, on Friday, Egyptian naval vessels, that were part of an international search-and-rescue team flotilla, unearthed the personal belongings of an EgyptAir aircraft that had gone down with approximately 66 people on board and had given rise to fears of terrorism. A spokesman for the Egyptian military and the Greek defense minister said that the items included pieces of the plane, two seats, human remains and also one or more suitcases. They were recovered about 180 miles north of Alexandria, Egypt in the Mediterranean Sea. The search of the wreckage was being conducted by at least six countries.
Early Thursday morning, EgyptAir flight 820, which was an Airbus A320 jetliner, vanished from radar screens as it was flying from Cairo to Paris over the Mediterranean Sea. In a news conference on Thursday, Panos Kammenos, the Greek defense minister said that before disappearing, the jetliner had plunged from cruising altitude while flying in a circle and swerving violently. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Samir, the spokesman for the Egyptian Army said in an interview on Friday that there was no doubt that the debris belonged to the EgyptAir plane. EgyptAir posted a statement on Facebook that the Egyptian military had informed them of the discovery and also added that the search was ongoing.
On Thursday, the search for debris had become rather confusing after the airline said that wreckage had been located, but retracted the statement a few hours later. On Friday, in a news conference in Athens, the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority provided an almost definite timeline of the incident. It was reported by the agency that the flight had been moving normally around 1:48 a.m. Cairo time as that’s when the Greek controllers had spoken to the pilot last and he had seemed to be in good spirits.
The controllers in Athens tried to reach the plane at 2:27 a.m. as the plane was approaching the Egyptian airspace, which meant that control and communications had to be passed onto Cairo. However, they failed to get a response and attempts on an emergency frequency also went ignored. The plane left Greek airspace at 2:29 a.m. and the aircraft’s trace was lost by Greek controllers at 2:29:40 just within the Egyptian airspace. Sherif Fathi, the minister of civil aviation in Egypt said on Thursday that chances of mechanical failure were considerably low as opposed to terrorism, but the judgment couldn’t be made as yet.
However, the admission that terrorism could be the reason behind the disaster is totally different from earlier Egyptian air disasters when such a conclusion was resisted by the officials even in light of overwhelming evidence. Furthermore, it is also worth noting that no militant group has claimed responsibility for the disaster. Previously, terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State have been eager to take responsibility for burnishing their credentials and attracting followers. Teams from Britain, Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy joined Egypt in the air and sea search. Also, British and French investigators and one expert from Airbus joined a team of Egyptian investigators for inspecting parts of the airplane.