EgyptAir plane debris, passengers' belongings found: Military

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Timeline of EgyptAir Flight MS804

Egypt's military said it found the first pieces of a missing EgyptAir passenger plane — though there were no signs officials were any closer to solving the puzzle of what sent the aircraft falling out of the sky.

Families of the 66 people on board Flight MS804 have been waiting in anguish for news following 24 hours of conflicting information and rampant speculation over what happened to the aircraft.

Egyptian army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohammed Samir said on his verified Facebook page Friday that his military's search planes and vessels had discovered parts of the Airbus A320 — along with some passengers' belongings.

The military is certain the debris comes from Flight MS804, Samir told NBC News by phone, adding that all wreckage will be brought back to Egypt for investigation.

The items were found about 180 miles north of the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

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A body part and suitcases were recovered, according to Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. He told a press conference that Egyptian authorities had informed Greek authorities of the discoveries. Egypt's Ministry of Defense would not confirm or deny the information.

The finds were addressed in a statement from EgyptAir expressing "deep sorrow for the accident" and offering "condolences to the families of the victims."

Friday's news comes after an earlier announcement from EgyptAir about finding debris was retracted.

Search planes have been combing the Mediterranean Sea for the downed jet amid an ongoing hunt for the cause of its demise.

Did a bomb cause EgyptAir MS804 plane to crash?

Terrorism has been cited as a potential cause — though officials have cautioned against speculation and there has been no credible claim of responsibility from any group.

The jet was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar shortly after entering Egyptian airspace early Thursday.

EgyptAir's announcement that afternoon saying wreckage had been found near the Greek island of Karpathos turned out to be premature — the airline retracted the statement hours later in an interview with CNN.

"We stand corrected on that," EgyptAir Vice President Ahmed Adel told the network.

A Greek C-130 aircraft roared off the runway on the island of Crete early Friday, joining the Egyptian-led search for the missing plane. Egypt's military said it was continuing to search for more debris.

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In addition to the Greek and Egyptian assets, the U.S. has lent P-3 Orion aircraft and the U.K. has sent a carrier to the area.

The European Space Agency said Friday that a satellite had spotted a potential oil slick about 25 miles from the plane's last known location.

It cautioned there was "no guarantee" that the slick was linked to Flight MS804 but said it has passed information related to satellite image on to authorities in support of the search operations.

While planes, helicopters, ships and satellites scoured the waters of the Mediterranean, the quest for answers continued.

Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said terrorism was more likely to blame for the plane's disappearance than a technical fault.

"The possibility of having a different action or of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical error," Fathy told reporters Thursday.

Kammenos said it appeared the Airbus A320 swerved sharply — 90 degrees to the left, then 360 degrees to the right — before plunging more than 20,000 feet. Then it was gone.

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Egypt is leading the investigation — with assists from Greece and others. Three French investigators arrived in Cairo early Friday along with a technical expert from Airbus, the plane's manufacturer.

The team was due to meet Friday afternoon with Egyptian investigators to "start coordinating," a spokesman for BEA — the French aviation investigation authority — told NBC News.

RELATED: The mystery surrounding flight MS804

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EgyptAir Flight Disappears (5/18)
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EgyptAir plane debris, passengers' belongings found: Military
A still image from video released May 19, 2016 shows EgyptAir Airbus A320 SU-GCC taking off at Brussels, Belgium, September 26, 2015. Mandatory credit The YottaTube/via REUTERS TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
An employee works at the EgyptAir desk at Charles de Gaulle airport, after an EgyptAir flight disappeared from radar during its flight from Paris to Cairo, in Paris, France, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
An unidentified woman reacts as she waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
An unidentified man reacts as he waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
An unidentified woman reacts as she waits outside the Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
The flight path of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo is seen on a flight tracking screen May 19, 2016. Courtesy Flightradar24.com/Handout via Reuters 
FILE PHOTO - An EgyptAir plane is seen on the runway at Cairo Airport, Egypt in this September 5, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo
Unidentified relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo react as they wait outside the Egyptair in-flight service building where relatives are being held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
FILE PHOTO - A general view shows the Terminal 1 at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris September 17, 2014, where missing EgyptAir flight MS804 originated from. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo
CAIRO, EGYPT - MAY 19: Relatives of passengers onboard missing EgyptAir flight MS804 cry at Cairo International Airport as they try to receive information in Cairo, Egypt on May 19, 2016. Airliner disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace during its flight from Paris to Cairo. (Photo by Ala Ahmed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
French police officers and a sniffer dog patrol a terminal building at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Roissy, France, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egypt deployed naval ships to search for an EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route to Cairo from Paris that went missing overnight off the coast of the North African country with 66 people on board. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A screenshot from Flightradar24.com showing the flight track of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris, France, to Cairo, Egypt. The Airbus A320 with 66 people on board disappeared from radar on May 19, 2016. TASS (Photo by TASS\TASS via Getty Images)
Egypt's Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy speaks during a press conference on May 19, 2016 at the Ministry of Civil Aviation at Cairo's airport after an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean sea with 66 people on board. The Airbus A320 fell 22,000 feet and swerved sharply twice in Egyptian airspace before it disappeared from radar screens, Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos told a news conference. Fathy said he could not rule out either terrorism or a technical problem. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee sits at EgyptAir Airlines check in desk at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Roissy, France, on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Egypt deployed naval ships to search for an EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route to Cairo from Paris that went missing overnight off the coast of the North African country with 66 people on board. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CAIRO, EGYPT - MAY 19: Travelers come and go from terminal 3 at the Cairo International Airport on May 19, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt. EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 passengers and crew vanished over the eastern Mediterranean last night. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).
Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy speaks, after EgyptAir plane vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo, during a news conference at headquarters of ministry in Cairo, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Unidentified relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo react as they wait outside the Egyptair in-flight service building where relatives are being held at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Egypt and EgyptAir flags are seen infront of an Egyptair in-flight service building, where relatives of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo are being held, at Cairo International Airport, Egypt May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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The White House said it "stands ready" to provide "full support and resources" to Egypt and France as they investigate.

While Egypt expressed confidence in its security measures, the incident was the second aviation disaster involving the country in less than a year.

ISIS claimed responsibility for downing a Russian passenger plane over Egypt's Sinai peninsula in October.

Related: The Last Moments of Doomed Flight 804

There were no immediate moves to step up aviation security in Egypt in wake of Thursday's incident, though Los Angeles International Airport took measures to do so.

Relatives of the passengers waited in Cairo hotels for news of their loves ones' fates. Emotions ran high as family members arrived at the airport overnight, with police intervening after some turned on journalists gathered there.

The victims of the crash included citizens of 12 nations — including Egypt, France, the U.K. and Canada.

In Cairo on Friday, preparations were underway to mourn the 30 Egyptians killed in the tragedy.

A noticeable number of women dressed head-to-toe in black — a marked sign of mourning — were seen entering the Sadeek Mosque in Cairo's suburb of Nasr City, where condolence prayers would be offered for the EgyptAir co-pilot.

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