Debris found doesn't belong to EgyptAir flight - officials

  • 20/05/2016

Australian Foreign Affairs MP Julie Bishop has issued a statement confirming one of the victims in the EgyptAir crash was an Australian-UK dual national.

"I regretfully confirm that one of the passengers on Egypt Air flight, MS 804, en route from Paris to Cairo was an Australian-UK dual national.

"We are working closely with UK authorities, which are taking the lead in the provision of consular assistance to the man’s family," she said.

Earlier, EgyptAir retracted a claim it had found wreckage from flight 804, which went missing in the Mediterranean.

"We stand corrected," vice president Ahmed Adel told CNN.

A senior Greek air safety official has also said debris found in the Mediterranean Sea, which was initially believed to be from the missing flight, does not in fact belong to the aircraft.

The jet was carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo and disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean south of Greece, with Greek officials saying the plane swerved in mid-air before plunging from cruising height and vanishing.

US officials are stating terrorism may have been a factor and in a televised press conference, Egypt's Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy echoed the same message, saying "the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than having a technical issue".

However, a US review of satellite imagery so far has not produced any signs of an explosion aboard the EgyptAir flight. 

Debris found doesn't belong to EgyptAir flight - officials

The officials behind that review, who spoke to Reuters under the condition of anonymity, said the conclusion was the result of a preliminary examination of imagery and cautioned against media reports suggesting a bomb was responsible.

Earlier, Greek officials said pieces of plastic and two lifevests were found floating some 370km south of Crete, but they were found to have no relation to the incident.

In Washington, US President Barack Obama received a briefing on the disappearance from his adviser for homeland security and counter-terrorism, the White House said.

In Athens, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the Airbus had first swerved 90 degrees to the left, then spun through 360 degrees to the right. After plunging from 37,000 feet (11.2 kilometres) to 15,000 (4.5km), it vanished from Greek radar screens.

Greece deployed aircraft and a frigate to the area to help with the search.

According to Greece's civil aviation chief, calls from Greek air traffic controllers to the jet went unanswered just before it left the country's airspace, and it disappeared from radar screens soon afterwards.

The aircraft was carrying 56 passengers -- with one child and two infants among them -- and 10 crew, EgyptAir said. They included 30 Egyptian and 15 French nationals, along with citizens of 10 other countries.

Debris found doesn't belong to EgyptAir flight - officials

Mr Adel says the main concern for authorities is taking care of the family and friends of those who have perished in the crash.

He says once those efforts have concluded, a passenger manifest will be publically released.

With its archaeological sites and Red Sea resorts, Egypt is traditionally a popular destination for Western tourists. But the industry has been badly hit following the downing of the Russian Metrojet flight last October, killing all 224 people on board, as well as by an Islamist insurgency and a string of bomb attacks.