'Body part and suitcases' found in search for missing EgyptAir plane


Egyptian authorities say they've spotted a body part, two seats and suitcases in the search for the missing EgyptAir plane, according to Greek officials.

Greek defence minister Panos Kammenos said the items were found in the search area in the Mediterranean - slightly south of where the aircraft vanished from radar signals early on Thursday.

He said the location was slightly north of where other debris was found on Thursday afternoon but authorities had been unable to identify that as having come from the missing Airbus A320.

Cairo International Airport's arrivals section

EgyptAir flight 804 crashed while carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo.

A team of Egyptian investigators led by Ayman el-Mokadam - along with French and British teams and an expert from Airbus - will inspect what has been found, Egyptian officials said.

The plane fell off the radar at 2.45am local time on Thursday morning while crossing the Mediterranean.

The office of Egypt's president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, issued a statement expressing its condolences to the relatives of the 66 killed. It said the presidency "expressed its deep regret and sadness for the victims".

Relatives of passengers on the EgyptAir flight walk past journalists at Cairo International Airport

"God give great mercy and host them in his heaven," it added.

The statement is the first official recognition by Egypt's government that the missing plane has crashed.

France, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and the UK have all joined the Egyptian search effort, Egypt's defence ministry said. Authorities had been scouring a wide area south of the Greek island of Crete.

It's not known yet what caused the crash.

An EgyptAir Airbus A330-300 takes off for Cairo from Charles de Gaulle Airport

Kammenos said the plane swerved wildly before plummeting into the sea.

The Egyptian military said no distress call was received from the pilot and aviation minister Sherif Fathi said the likelihood the plane was brought down by a terror attack is "higher than the possibility of a technical failure".

But French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on France-2 television there's "absolutely no indication" of what caused the crash.

The junior minister for transport, Alain Vidalies, said on France-Info radio that "no theory is favoured" at this stage and urged "the greatest caution".