Planes and ships scoured the heavily traveled waters of the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday, searching for EgyptAir Flight 804 after it disappeared from radar and, according to authorities, presumably crashed into water as it flew from Paris to Cairo.
No trace has been found of the Airbus A320, which had 66 people on board, and there’s too little information to tie what’s likely to be a devastating tragedy to any particular cause.
But speculation immediately centered on the possibility of a terrorist attack.
“Planes today just don’t fall out of the sky,” CNN aviation analyst Miles O’Brien said.
Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi said technical failures and terror are both possible explanations.
“But if you analyze this situation properly, the possibility of having a different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem,” Fathi said.
For now, however, finding the airplane and any possible survivors is the priority, authorities said.
Live updates: Missing flight MS804
— U.S. government officials are operating on an initial theory that EgyptAir Flight 804 was taken down by a bomb, two U.S. officials told CNN on Thursday. Officials said the theory could change, with one senior administration official cautioning it is not yet supported by a “smoking gun.”
— U.S. intelligence officials are in contact with their French and Egyptian counterparts regarding the missing flight, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN’s Jim Sciutto. They are sharing flight manifests for checks against U.S. watch lists, the official said.
Donald Trump doesn’t wait for investigators to call missing EgyptAir flight act of terror
— An Egyptian search aircraft has spotted two floating objects 210 nautical miles southeast of Crete, but it’s unclear whether the objects are part of the missing aircraft, according to a spokesman for Greece’s Hellenic National Defense General Staff.
— President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation, said Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
— The airplane “swerved and then plunged” before descending into the Mediterranean, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told reporters.
— Greek controllers tried to reach EgyptAir Flight 804 about 10 miles before it left the country’s airspace and for about 90 seconds after and received no response, the head of the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority told Greek broadcaster ANT1 TV.