As airline and Greek aviation officials zeroed in on the first few pieces of wreckage they believe belong to missing EgyptAir Flight 804, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter, blaming the plane's disappearance on terrorism.
"Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!" Trump tweeted.
Aviation experts seem to agree.
"Planes today just don't fall out of the sky," aviation analyst Miles O'Brien said, according to CNN.
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EgyptAir Flight 804 departed from Paris on May 18 and was headed toward Cairo when it disappeared from radar. The plane could have experienced technical failures or could have been brought down by a terrorist act, but the latter is more likely, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi told CNN.
All was well with the Airbus A320 when it traversed Greek airspace, according to reports. But as the passenger plane crossed over into Egyptian airspace above the Mediterranean Sea, air traffic controllers lost radio contact with the pilots and the plane swerved violently as it plunged thousands of feet, officials from the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority said.
While technical failures can't be ruled out, "if you analyze this situation properly, the possibility of having a different action aboard, of having a terror attack, is higher than having a technical problem," Fathi said.
That's an opinion shared by Richard Quest, an aviation expert who spoke to CNN.
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"Planes just do not fall out of the sky for no reason, particularly at 37,000 feet," Quest said.
The airline said routine maintenance had been performed on the Airbus and no problems were found before it was cleared to depart Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport for the 3 1/2 hour flight to Cairo. The Airbus was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members, according to CNN. Thirty passengers were Egyptian nationals, and the plane was also carrying citizens of the U.K., Canada, Portugal, Algeria and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.
U.S. government officials said they'd checked the passenger manifest and did not believe any of the passengers were listed on terror watch lists or connected to radicalized figures. That manifest had not been released publicly as of late afternoon on May 19 because airline officials were still reaching out to the victims' next of kin.
Trump's tweet blaming terrorism for the plane's crash had accumulated more than 9,000 retweets and almost 23,000 likes in less than 12 hours.
In Cairo, relatives of the plane's passengers were dealing with grief and shock. Others expressed confusion, as Greek aviation officials contradicted earlier reports that the airline wreckage had been found.
“Consider the feelings of others," one family member shouted at a reporter, reports The New York Times. "You just care about putting something up. May God burn you all, you heartless people.”
Others were in disbelief. Mervat Moamen is a relative of Samar Ezz el-Deen, a flight attendant who had just gotten married. Moamen said Egyptian authorities hadn't told the families much, and told The New York Times she was holding out hope that the plane hadn't been destroyed.
“Pray for them,” Moamen said. “We are hoping they are just kidnapped and that this talk is untrue.”