UPDATE: 5:35 a.m. EDT — Egyptian army Friday found personal belongings of passengers of the EgyptAir Flight MS804, which crashed Thursday, according to reports. The personal items along with the plane debris — found about 180 miles north of Alexandria — will be examined by investigators, Egyptian airport officials said, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed “deep sadness and extreme regret” over the deaths of the 66 passengers and crew members on board the ill-fated jet.
UPDATE: 4:56 a.m. EDT — Egyptian military found debris of the crashed EgyptAir Flight MS804 about 180 miles north of Alexandria, a Mediterranean port city in Egypt, the Telegraph reported Friday, citing Egyptian state television.
The military is now sifting through the area where the wreckage was found, looking for the black box of the plane. The Cairo-bound Airbus A320 that carried 66 passengers vanished early Thursday, about 10 minutes after entering Egyptian airspace.
The search for the missing EgyptAir Flight MS804 intensified Friday after officials said that the Cairo-bound Airbus A320, carrying 66 passengers, likely crashed into the Mediterranean Sea. Greek, Egyptian, French and British military teams have joined in the search for the plane's wreckage near Greece’s Karpathos island.
According to the Guardian, Egypt’s aviation minister, Sherif Fathi, said he did not want to make conclusions at the stage, but added: “The possibility of having a different action or a terror attack, is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.” The plane, originating from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, vanished from radar screens early Thursday, around 10 minutes after it entered Egyptian airspace.
Meanwhile, the crash has also put other airports on high alert. Security at the Los Angeles International Airport was tightened Thursday following the crash, the airport police said.
“In light of the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight MS804, we have heightened our security posture and enhanced our counter-terrorism security measures at LAX [Los Angeles airport] … After a comprehensive review of airport access points, those used by aviation workers to enter sterile and secured areas of LAX were reduced to an operational minimum. Airport police eliminated and restricted access to over 150 doors within passenger terminals,” the airport police said, in a statement.
The police also said that additional officers have been assigned to monitor employee access points and carry out inspections and random screening of aviation workers.
In the latest development surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the EgyptAir plane, the airline retracted its earlier statement about finding debris of the aircraft in the Mediterranean Sea. EgyptAir’s Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel had told CNN that the plane’s wreckage had been found.
“We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane. So the search and rescue is still going on,” Adel told CNN later.
As the fate of the Airbus A320 remains uncertain, officials from Egypt, Greece and France are exploring all the possibilities as to what happened to the plane that took from Paris, including terrorism and technical failure. France’s BEA, or Accident Investigating Bureau, was expected to send Thursday night a team of three investigators to Cairo, along with a technical expert from Airbus, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
In a statement, the bureau said “the BEA could notably counsel Egyptian authorities on the organization of an underwater search to locate the plane and the black boxes,” according to the AP.
Of the 56 passengers, EgyptAir said the plane carries 30 Egyptians, 15 French and a Briton, who Australian foreign affairs ministry said is a dual citizen of Australia. Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop confirmed that the passenger was an Australian-UK dual national.
“We are working closely with UK authorities, which are taking the lead in the provision of consular assistance to the man’s family … Out of respect for the man’s family, the government will not provide more details at this stage,” Bishop said, in a statement, cited by the Guardian.