CAIRO, EGYPT — The plane is missing. It’s been found. Wait, false alert. That’s the roller coaster of emotions for family members as they demand to know what happened to EgyptAir Flight 804.
When searchers got close to debris in the Mediterranean Sea, they realized it wasn’t the missing airliner, EgyptAir’s Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel told CNN.
The Airbus A320 carrying 66 passengers and crew disappeared early Thursday as it flew from Paris to Cairo.
Speculation has 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.
— The pilots have been identified to CNN as Mohamed Said Shoukair and Mohamed Mamdouh Ahmed Assem, according to an official close to the investigation and a security source. The sources said Shoukair was the captain and Assem was the first officer. The head flight attendant was identified as Mirvat Zaharia Zaki Mohamed.
— Maintenance checks on the plane had been done on time and “no snags were reported,” Adel told Amanpour.
— Checks of the passenger manifest have so far resulted in no hits on terror watch lists, officials with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
— U.S. government officials are operating on an initial theory that the plane was taken down by a bomb, two U.S. officials told CNN. Officials said the theory could change, with one senior administration official cautioning it is not yet supported by a “smoking gun.”
— President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation, said Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to express his condolences.
— 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.