U.S. Navy searches for debris of EgyptAir flight

Sunday 22-05-2016 10:02 PM

EgyptAir plane, REUTERS

CAIRO, May 22 (Aswat Masriya) – The U.S. Navy has continued its search operations, which began on Thursday, for EgyptAir flight MS804 in coordination with the Egyptian rescue mission, the U.S. embassy in Cairo said on Sunday.  

Egypt’s flag-carrier airline, EgyptAir, announced early Thursday morning that its flight MS804 vanished off the radar 16 km (10 miles) into Egyptian airspace as it was crossing the Mediterranean at 2:45 AM Cairo time en route from Paris to Cairo. News of debris found belonging to the missing flight came later that day, as the foreign ministry confirmed, indicating the plane had crashed in the sea.   

U.S. Navy search operations are conducted using flight missions which specialise in maritime surveillance, the embassy said in a press release.

"The P-3 Orion missions have flown from the U.S. Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy to search the Mediterranean Sea area in which flight MS804 disappeared," the embassy added. 

There were no American citizens among the 56 passengers who were on board the Airbus 320 airliner along with seven crew and three security staff.

The plane carried 30 Egyptians, 15 French nationals, two Iraqi nationals, a Saudi national, a Portuguese national, a Belgian, a Briton, a Kuwaiti, a Chadian, an Algerian, and a Canadian.

The United States Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond “expressed their countries’ willingness to provide all kinds of support in the search for the plane’s wreckage and the investigation associated with the incident,” Foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement on Friday. 

But State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said ion Thursday that his country has not received “any specific requests for investigative assistance by Egyptian authorities."

Sisi said on Sunday that the Egyptian public prosecutor ordered an investigation into the cause behind the crash in coordination with the French government. 

France is taking part in the investigation because it is the country with the second-most largest numbers of passengers on board the flight. Three French investigators and a technical expert from Airbus arrived in Cairo on Friday to join an Egypt-led investigation.

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail had said on Thursday that he does not rule out terrorism or any other factor. But no militant group has claimed responsibility for the crash as yet.

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