EgyptAir MS804 crash still a mystery after body part and seats found

Debris from the missing EgyptAir plane including a “body part”, two seats and suitcases were found floating in the Mediterranean on Friday. But investigators appeared no closer to explaining why flight MS804 suddenly plunged into the sea killing all 66 on board during a routine flight between Paris and Cairo.

Egyptian naval vessels found the wreckage 180 miles (295km) north of the coastal city of Alexandria. A European satellite saw an ominous mile-long oil slick about 25 miles south of the aircraft’s last known position.

“A short while ago we were briefed by the Egyptian authorities … on the discovery of a body part, a seat and baggage just south of where the aircraft signal was lost,” the Greek defence minister, Panos Kammenos, told reporters in Athens.

The plane had taken a normal course through Greek airspace before abruptly taking sharp turns, he said, adding that the cause of the crash was still a matter of speculation. The plane crashed at around 2.30am local time on Thursday while carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew from Paris to Cairo, including Briton Richard Osman. All those on board died.

According to reports on Friday night, flight data suggested there were smoke alerts aboard MS804 minutes before it crashed.

Smoke was detected in the toilet and the aircraft’s electrics, according to data from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (Acars). Acars routinely downloads flight data to the airline operating the aircraft. The warnings came at about 2.26am on Thursday local time, just before air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane, the AFP news agency reported.

Despite theories that a bomb may have been smuggled on board, no claim of responsibility has so far been made by Islamic State or other terrorist groups. Typically, Isis claims responsibility for its attacks soon afterwards on Twitter and video.

Egypt’s military said it had found personal belongings and parts of the wreckage floating in the sea. It did not post photographs. The spokesman for the armed forces wrote on Facebook that the search was continuing.

Greek authorities said they had received information that the wreckage was discovered 10 miles “from the last known point” of flight MS804.

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