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EgyptAir update: 2 Canadians aboard plane that crashed in Mediteranean

A former U.S. National Transportation Safety Board member said early indications point to a bomb rather than to a structural or mechanical failure as the cause of the crash


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OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion says two Canadian citizens were among the passengers on EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed while travelling from Paris to Cairo.

Dion says Global Affairs Canada is providing consular assistance to the families and officials are working closely with authorities to confirm whether there were any additional Canadian citizens on board.

He says consular officials were immediately deployed to the airport and reached out to government agencies to ascertain the facts and provide the most effective support to families.

Authorities have said the EgyptAir jetliner with 66 people aboard swerved wildly in flight and crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early May 19.

Egyptian and Russian officials have said it may have been brought down by terrorists.

There have been no immediate signs of survivors.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims on board EgyptAir flight MS804,” Dion said in a statement.

He added that Global Affairs is also working with its French and Egyptian counterparts as well as other impacted countries to assess the situation and consider any requests for support.

John Goglia, a former U.S. National Transportation Safety Board member, said early indications point more to a bomb than to a structural or mechanical failure for EgyptAir Flight 804.

Goglia says “given the fact that (the pilot) made those abrupt turns without broadcasting any maydays would indicate to me that something catastrophic like a device happened.”

He says a mechanical failure “still has to be considered, but at this point I would put that down pretty low.” He likewise says that a structural failure, like a piece of the airplane’s aluminum skin ripping away from metal fatigue, is possible but unlikely.

He says “the recorders will tell us,” referring to the black boxes, the plane’s flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders that are a key part of nearly every crash investigation.

France’s BEA, or Accident Investigating Bureau which probes aircraft disasters, was sending a team of three investigators to Cairo, accompanied by a technical expert from Airbus, maker of the EgyptAir A320 plane that has crashed into the Mediterranean.

In a statement, it said “the BEA could notably counsel Egyptian authorities on the organization of an underwater search to locate the plane and the black boxes.”

The BEA said it was taking part in the probe as a representative of the country where the plane was conceived. Airbus, based in Toulouse, has said it was sending a technical expert and could send more if needed.


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