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EgyptAir Crash Likely Caused by Terrorist Attack

Officials Say Wreckage Not Flight 804
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EgyptAir officials now say they were mistaken when they reported the wreckage of Flight 804 had been found in the Mediterranean Sea.

The officials said rescue workers found life vests and pieces of plastic. EgyptAir Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel told CNN that none of what was found is part of the plane. He said the search and rescue is still going on.

The plane, an Airbus 320, was carrying 66 people, including 56 passengers.

EgyptAir flight 804 flight path map
EgyptAir flight 804 flight path map

It was traveling from Paris to Cairo. Greek air traffic controllers spoke with the pilot when it entered Greek airspace. They lost contact with the flight when it was very near or entering Egyptian airspace.

Egyptian officials discussed the crash on Thursday while search operations continued in the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt's aviation minister said the crash was more likely caused by a terrorist attack than mechanical failure.

French President Francois Hollande spoke to reporters about the incident.

“We must ensure that we know everything on the causes of what happened. No hypothesis is ruled out or favored,” he said.

Hollande said the French government is in contact with Egyptian and Greek officials to help with the search.

Greek defense minister said the plane made sudden turns and dropped sharply before disappearing from radar.

Scott Hamilton of Leeham Aviation Consultancy spoke to VOA. He said it is highly unusual for an airplane to disappear when at an altitude of 11,000 meters.

Hamilton said, “It either typically indicates a catastrophic failure, catastrophic emergency of some kind, or as we know from not too long ago, a bomb could go off…But you just have to be cautious and not jump to any conclusions at this point.”

He added that search teams “would be ultimately looking for the airplane’s main records and black boxes.”

Brother of Amad "Egyptian" who is missing on th Egyptian flight Egyptair A320 just arrived Egyptair in flight service building in Nassr city in Cairo, Egypt on May 19, 2016.
Brother of Amad "Egyptian" who is missing on th Egyptian flight Egyptair A320 just arrived Egyptair in flight service building in Nassr city in Cairo, Egypt on May 19, 2016.

The passengers were from France, Egypt and nine other nations, including Britain, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Passengers from Algeria, Canada, Chad, Portugal and Sudan are among the missing.

In October 2015, a Russian passenger plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula. Russia says an explosive device caused the crash. A group linked to the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Hamada Elrasam and Lisa Bryant reported this story for Mario Ritter adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

hypothesis – n. a theory that is not proven but leads to further study

favored adj. preferred, valued more than others

indicate – v. to show

altitude –n. distance above the ground, height

catastrophic – adj. a disaster, something terrible or extreme

conclusions – n. a final judgement based on evidence

jetn. an airplane powered by one or more jet engines