The EgyptAir Wreckage Has Not Been Found

by Jenny Hollander

Update: Egyptian military officials found debris and personal belongings from the EgyptAir flight 804 in the Mediterranean Sea early Friday morning.

Update: A senior Greek air safety official has denied that the debris belongs to the missing aircraft. Later on Thursday, EgyptAir retracted its statement that the wreckage had been found.

Earlier: On Thursday, in an exclusive interview with CNN, the vice president of EgyptAir said in a statement that the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight MS804 had been found. "We have found the wreckage," Ahmed Adel said in an interview with anchor Christiane Amanpour. It was found near Greece's Karpathos Island. The flight had disappeared from radar more than twelve hours earlier. Two hours after its disappearance, EgyptAir said via Twitter that it had lost connection with the flight, which was traveling from Paris to Cairo. It had carried 66 people.

Egyptian authorities have suggested that the downing of the plane — which, according to the Daily Beast, may have exploded in mid-air — may be an act of terrorism. Last November, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian Metrojet plane over Egypt. More than 200 people died in the crash. However, ISIS nor any other terrorist group has not taken responsibility for the EgyptAir flight. Authorities who have described it as potentially being an act of terrorism have been quick to clarify that nothing can be known for sure at this time.

Before the wreckage was found on Thursday, bits of debris — ranging in color from orange to white — were found by the search and rescue teams that had been sent out immediately following EgyptAir's announcement that it had lost contact with the plane. One captain of a ship posted the photos to Facebook, suggesting that they were from the lost flight. (After that, the debris had been sent away from confirmation.)

Although the discovery of the wreckage means that we know that the passengers on board are presumed dead, there is plenty still that we don't know. Was the crash a result of mechanical failure, deliberate terrorism, pilot error, or another factor? Was there a hijacking, or did the plane explode in midair? Did the plane come apart in the sky, as with the Metrojet crash, or did it crash into the water?

In the days to come, Egyptian and French authorities have both promised to address these questions, and provide some sort of closure to the families of the victims.

"We have no explanations at this stage," Adel told Amanpour. "We need more investigation."