Egypt army finds wreckage of crashed Egyptair plane at sea

Updated: 2016-05-20 17:39


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Egypt army finds wreckage of crashed Egyptair plane at sea

Pilots of an Egyptian military plane take part in a search operation for the EgyptAir plane that disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea in this still image taken from video May 19, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO  -- The Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement on Friday it had found parts of debris from the missing EgyptAir plane 290 kilometers north of the coastal city of Alexandria.

"The Egyptian aircraft and navy vessels have found some personal belongings of passengers and parts of the wreckage," Mohamed Samir, spokesman for the army, said in a statement on his Facebook page.

Working on combing the sea and recovering the wreckage are still underway, the statement added.

The Egyptian Civil Aviation ministry said Egypt, Greece, and France were all involved in the search for the plane.

The Airbus A320, which was carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo,  was off the radar at 2:45 am Cairo local time (0045 GMT) en route from Paris to Cairo. It was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,280 meters) when losing contact with the radar, an official source in the airline said.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said that the plane had made abrupt swerves and lost altitude within Egyptian airspace.

The flight MS804 entered the Greek airspace at 02:24 am local time (2324 GMT, May 18), according to an earlier press statement.

During the last contact of the plane's pilot with Greek air traffic controllers at 02:48 am local time while the Airbus was flying over the Greek island of Kos no problems were reported.

The aircraft exited the Greek airspace, before suddenly disappearing from radar screens within Egyptian airspace at 03:29 am according to the Greek authorities.

Athens attempted to contact the plane at 03:27 am for the typical transfer of communication to Egyptian air traffic controllers, but there was no response, according to the official announcement.

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority, as well as Greece's Defense Ministry, have not confirmed local media reports that the captain of a passenger vessel reported a flash in the sky about 130 nautical miles off the Greek island of Karpathos, Greek national news agency ANA-MPA stressed.