Images of shattered parts of EgyptAir plane revealed

Some of the items found in the sea from the EgyptAir aircraft
Some of the items found in the sea from the EgyptAir aircraft
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New images have emerged of shattered parts of the EgyptAir plane recovered from the crash site in the Mediterranean.

The Egyptian military released photographs of the debris including fragments of seats, passenger belongings and a life vest featuring the airline’s logo as a major search continued.

The development came after reports suggested smoke was detected in parts of the plane before it disappeared from radar and plummeted into the water early on Thursday.

Flight MS804 - carrying 56 passengers including one Briton and 10 crew members from Paris to Cairo - went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline, or around 175 miles offshore, after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Before it disappeared from radar screens around 2.45am Cairo time (12.45am GMT), the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude.

What caused the Airbus A320 to crash remains a mystery as authorities scramble to recover the aircraft’s black boxes.

French air accident investigation agency spokesman Sebastien Barthe told the Associated Press (AP) that the plane’s automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before it disappeared from radar.

The messages “generally mean the start of a fire”, he said, but added: “We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture.”

Egypt’s army spokesman said debris and passenger belongings have been located 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt.

Airport officials in Egypt said investigators will inspect the debris and personal belongings that have been recovered.

Egyptian and Russian officials have said the plane may have been brought down by terrorists, and there are no signs of survivors.

Among the passengers was Briton Richard Osman, a 40-year-old father-of-two originally from Carmarthen in Wales, who was described by his younger brother Alastair as a workaholic and a very admirable person who “never deviated from the straight path”.

The Airbus A320 was built in 2003 and was flying at 37,000ft, the airline said on Twitter.

It tweeted that the pilot had logged 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 hours on the A320, and the co-pilot had logged 2,766 hours.

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

Flight MS804 - an Airbus A320 with 56 passengers and 10 crew members flying from Paris to Cairo - went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline, or around 175 miles offshore, after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Egypt’s army spokesman said debris and passenger belongings have been located 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt.

Airport officials in Egypt said investigators will inspect the debris and personal belongings that have been recovered.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said the Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship Lyme Bay and an RAF C130 Hercules aircraft had joined the search efforts.

Before it disappeared from radar screens around 2.45am Cairo time (12.45am GMT), the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude.

Egyptian and Russian officials said it may have been brought down by terrorists, and there are no signs of survivors.

Egyptian and Greek authorities in ships and planes searched the suspected crash area throughout the day for traces of the airliner or its victims, with more help on the way from the US, Britain and France.

Civil aviation minister Sherif Fathi said the disaster was still being investigated but the possibility it was a terror attack “is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure”.

Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russia’s top domestic security agency, said: “In all likelihood it was a terror attack.”

Among those on board were a child and two babies, EgyptAir said. The airline said the 56 passengers included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis and one each from Britain, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt’s civil aviation authority said one was received at 4.26am local time, believed to be an automated message rather than one sent by the pilot.

But in a statement on its website, the Egyptian military said later it had received no distress message from the aircraft.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch has offered its assistance and is ready to provide support if required, said Number 10.