The Egyptian navy said on Friday it had found the personal belongings of passengers and other debris floating in the Mediterranean, confirmation that an EgyptAir jet had plunged into the sea with 66 people on board.
The military said it had found the debris about 290 km (180 miles) north of the port city of Alexandria and was searching for the plane’s black box flight recorders.
Egypt’s President Adbel Fattah al-Sisi offered condolences for those on board, amounting to Cairo’s official acknowledgement of their deaths.
The defense minister of Greece, which has also been scouring the Mediterranean, said Egyptian authorities had found a body part, luggage and a seat in the sea just south of where the signal from the plane was lost.
Although suspicion pointed to Islamist militants who blew up another airliner over Egypt just seven months ago, no group had claimed responsibility more than 24 hours after the disappearance of flight MS804, an Airbus A320 flying from Paris to Cairo.
The latest news on EgyptAir Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo, carrying 66 people, which Egyptian officials say crashed early Thursday into the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Crete.
Three French investigators and a technical expert from Airbus arrived in Cairo early on Friday to help investigate the fate of the missing plane, airport sources said.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Thursday that it was too early to rule out any explanation for the disaster. The country’s aviation minister said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical failure.
Friday’s announcement that debris had been found followed earlier confusion about whether wreckage had been located. Greek searchers found some material on Thursday, but the airline later said this was not from its plane.