A Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight that went down in the Mediterranean Sea with 66 aboard early Thursday hours after departing from Paris zig-zagged sharply before plunging, according to aviation officials, who said terrorism was a more likely cause of the crash than technical failure.
Government officials from France, Greece and Egypt spoke at separate news conferences even as boats and ships from several countries were scouring the waters off of the Greek island of Karpathos, near where a witness reported seeing a fireball in the sky.
By midday Thursday, an Egyptian plane spotted two orange items believed to be from the missing plane, a Greek military official told The Associated Press.
The official said the items were found 230 miles south-southeast of the island of Crete but still within the Egyptian air traffic control area. One of the items was oblong, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations.
Speaking from Cairo, Egyptian Minister of Aviation Sherif Fathy said all officials can confirm for now is that the AirBus 320, which left Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. local time Wednesday and was due in Cairo at 3:15 a.m., “vanished.”
“I’m not excluding any theory,” said Fathy, who responded to a reporter’s question by saying that the possibility of a terror attack as the cause of the crash is “stronger” than technical failure.
The head of Russia’s top domestic security agency, Alexander Bortnikov, also said Thursday that “in all likelihood it was a terror attack” causing the crash of the EgyptAir plane, calling for a joint action to track down those responsible for that “monstrous attack.”