Update: Ship Picks Up Possible Signals From Flight 804 Black Box

Photo: Egyptian Armed Forces/AP Images.
Update: A search vessel has detected signals that officials say could be from a black box aboard EgyptAir Flight MS804, The Associated Press reports. A recovery of the recording device could help authorities piece together what happened before the plane carrying 66 passengers and crew members crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

Update May 22, 2016:
On Sunday, Egypt's president said the country's Oil Ministry would send a submarine to the crash site of EgyptAir Flight MS804, The Associated Press reports.

The submarine will join the search for the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, commonly known as black boxes. The submarine, which has the capacity to operate at a depth of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) below the surface, left for the crash site on Sunday.

This was President el-Sisi's first public remark since the plane crash. He thanked other nations for their assistance in recovering wreckage and cautioned against speculation about the cause of the crash.
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"There is not one scenario that we can exclusively subscribe to...all scenarios are possible," he said.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that three EgyptAir security officials confirmed that Flight MS804 was once the target of vandals, who wrote on the plane's underside, "We will bring this plane down."

The officials said the graffiti threats appeared two years ago. The vandals were aviation workers at Cairo Airport. According to the unnamed sources, the graffiti was linked to the domestic Egyptian political situation and was not seen as a threat from militants. Since then, EgyptAir has put new security measures into effect.

Update: May 21, 12:05 p.m. French investigators have confirmed that smoke was detected in multiple places on board EgyptAir Flight MS804 shortly before it crashed, according to The Guardian.

According to data transmitted from the plane, smoke was picked up in both the forward toilet and the plane’s electrical controls about two minutes before the flight computers started to fail. Investigators could not say what caused the smoke, and there is still no confirmation on the cause of the crash.

The Egyptian military posted the first photos of debris recovered from the crash to Facebook on Friday, including images of lifejackets, personal belongings, and parts of seats.

The Associated Press reports that security on EgyptAir flights between Paris and Cairo appears to be heightened, with security officials walking through the plane before takeoff.

Update: May 20, 11:30 a.m.
Egyptian authorities have found more debris from Flight MS804, including passengers’ personal belongings and body parts.

The Associated Press reported Friday morning that Egyptian air and naval forces identified more debris from the downed plane 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. The search for more debris, including the fuselage and the flight recorders, continues.

The Egyptian president’s office also issued a statement of condolence to the families of the victims, the first recognition by the Egyptian government that the plane had crashed. Official releases had previously referred to the plane as missing.

There is still no confirmation of what caused the crash.

Update: May 19, 1:08 p.m.
EgyptAir announced on Twitter this afternoon that Egyptian authorities have confirmed the finding of wreckage from Flight MS804 near Karpathos Island in Greece.
The airline tweeted at about 1 p.m. on Thursday that the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation had received an official letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that confirmed floating wreckage, including life jackets and plastic materials, to be from the MS804 crash.

CNN reported that the search was no longer a rescue effort, meaning that there was no expectation of survivors.

“EGYPTAIR sincerely conveys its deepest sorrow to the families and friends of the passengers onboard Flight MS804,” the airline tweeted.

Conjecture that the plane had been brought down by a terrorist attack has not been confirmed by the airline or authorities. In a press conference shortly before the airline's announcement, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that, “It is too early to say” what caused the crash.

Update: May 19 2016 7:30 a.m.
An EgyptAir flight that disappeared over the Mediterranean while traveling from Paris to Cairo crashed, French President Francois Hollande confirmed. Flight 804, carrying 66 people, took "sharp turns" before it vanished from radar, the BBC reported, citing Greek defense officials. The cause of the crash is not yet known. "We will draw conclusions when we have the truth about what happened," Hollande said. "Whether it was an accident, or whether it was — and it's something that is on our minds — terrorism."

This article was originally published on May 18, 2016.

An EgyptAir plane traveling from Paris to Cairo has disappeared from radar, the airline confirmed Wednesday night via its official Twitter account.
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Flight 804 took off from Charles De Gaulle Airport shortly after 11 p.m. local time. The flight had 56 passengers and 10 crew members onboard. It reportedly went missing over the eastern Mediterranean at 2:45 a.m. Cairo time. The aircraft was flying at 37,000 feet when EgyptAir officials say they lost contact with the flight.

Since another EgyptAir plane was hijacked in March this year, word of the missing flight initially sparked concerns that another hijacking may have taken place. The earlier hijacking was on a domestic flight within Egypt, however, and the hijacker was apprehended after the plane was forced to land.

At this writing, a search for the missing Airbus A320 aircraft is underway.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information emerges.
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