Global Independent Analytics

EgyptAir plane crash likely 'an act of terrorism,' as officials find debris in Mediterranean Sea

Wreckage of EgyptAir flight MS804 has been found south of the Greek island of Karpathos

Meg Wagner for NY Daily News reports: The debris from the plane — including life jackets — were discovered floating in the Mediterranean Sea about 50 miles from where Flight MS804 vanished from radar early Thursday.

The discovery ended a brutal waiting period for loved ones of the 66 passengers and crew members aboard the jet traveling from Paris to Cairo. Several relatives of the victims had gathered at Cairo International Airport wishing for a miracle.

U.S. security officials reported that they suspect that a bomb took down the plane. Investigators in Egypt and Greece have not confirmed that theory.

But Hillary Clinton said, “it does appear that it was an act of terrorism.”

“Exactly how, of course, the investigation will have to determine,” the former secretary of state added in an interview. White House spokesman confirmed Clinton’s position, but added that “It’s too early to definitively say what caused this disaster.”

Earlier that day Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy came to the same conclusion: “If you thoroughly analyze the situation, the possibility of having a different action or a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.”

The Airbus A320 took off from Paris at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday after completing trips to Eritrea and Tunisia earlier in the day, officials said.

Nothing seemed wrong when the pilot spoke to Greek air traffic controllers at 2:26 a.m.

But at 2:37 a.m., the plane began behaving unpredictably just after it entered Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.

The jet made a 90-degree turn to the left followed by a wide arc to the right. Then it plunged rapidly — descending from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet, then to 9,000 feet, officials said.

The plane disappeared from radar at 2:45 a.m.

Increasing the mystery, the plane sent out a signal nearly two hours after the last radio contact. Officials reported it wasn’t clear whether the signal was an emergency call or an automated signal from the plane’s onboard computers.

“We don’t know if the pilot had something to do with this or if it is just the plane sending it,” said Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman Ihab Raslan.

French President François Hollande said all theories are being considered.

“No hypothesis was being ruled out,” Hollande told reporters.

“When we have the truth, we must draw all the conclusions, whether it is an accident or another hypothesis, which everybody has in mind: the terrorist hypothesis.”

Considering that terrorist groups have seen success in taking down passenger planes over the last seven months, the story will probably keep unraveling.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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