EgyptAir Crash More Likely Terror Than Malfunction: Officials

Three children, seven crew and three "security personnel" were also among those on board. No Americans were believed on the plane

An EgyptAir flight carrying 66 people apparently crashed while en route from Paris to Cairo on Thursday, and Egyptian officials said it was more likely the jet was downed by a terror attack than a technical malfunction, NBC News reported. 

EgyptAir retracted its announcement that debris from Flight MS804 was found during search operations in the Mediterranean near the Greek island of Karpathos. "We stand corrected on that," the airline told CNN, saying initial information from "official channels" was incorrect.

A senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the U.S. capabilities in the region told NBC News the cause of the crash remains unclear, but infrared and multispectral imagers indicate strongly there was an explosion on the flight. 

EgyptAir said Flight MS804 left Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. Paris time (5:09 p.m. ET). The jet was about 10 miles into Egyptian airspace at an altitude of nearly 37,000 feet when it vanished at around 2:45 a.m. local time (8:45 p.m. ET), according to officials and radar trackers.

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French President Francois Hollande said earlier the plane had crashed, but that it was too soon to speculate as to the cause. Greece's defense minister Panos Kammenos said the jet made abrupt turns and suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing, the AP reported. 

Most of the flight's passengers were Egyptian or French. Three children, seven crew and three "security personnel" were also among those on board. No Americans were believed on the plane. Their identities have not yet been released.

Search teams have spotted what could be debris from crashed jet 230 miles south-southeast of the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. It was not immediately clear what suggested the items might be from the missing jet.
Jessica Glazer/NBC
Egyptair Flight MS804, which originated in Paris, was carrying 66 passengers and crew when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean, 30 minutes from its destination, Cairo. This map shows where the jet vanished from radar shortly before it was due to land.

EgyptAir confirmed the names of the crew to NBC News Thursday evening. The captain of the flight was Mohamed Said Aly Aly Shakeer, according to EgyptAir, and his co-pilot was Mohamed Ahmed Mamdouh Ahmed Assem. The names of the air hostess crew were reported to NBC News as: Mervat Zaki Zakri Mohamed, Atef Lutfy Abdel Lateef Amin, Samir Ezzedin Safwat Youssef, Haitham Mostafa Azz al Hameed Al Azzizi and Yara Hani Farag Tawfiq.

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