Two More US Navy P-3 Orion Aircraft Join Search for EgyptAir Wreckage

Two long-range U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft searched the Mediterranean Friday for traces of EgyptAir Flight 804 which went missing Thursday enroute from Paris to Cairo.

The back-to-back P-3 missions followed on a search Thursday by a single one of the maritime patrol aircraft. All of the Orion flights originated from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy.

"None of our aircraft sighted any debris," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Davis said the Orions from Patrol Squadron 4 had about a three-hour flight from Italy to the main search area about 180 miles north of the Egyptian port of Alexandria, where Greek and Egyptian officials reported Friday that debris including seats, suitcases and possibly a body part had been recovered.

At a news conference, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said debris had also been discovered at a second location "but we do not have as yet an official announcement if these findings do have to do with the particular (EgyptAir) aircraft."

The Airbus A320 with 56 passengers and 10 crew aboard was believed to be at about 37,000 feet and about to begin its approach to Cairo when it disappeared from radar on the Paris-Cairo flight.

Egyptian officials have said that terrorism may be involved in the Flight 804 disappearance but Davis said, "we have no information that would suggest a particular cause."

At a White House briefing Thursday, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, "Our government has not reached a formal determination about what took place" on the EgyptAir flight, but the U.S. would be doing its own analysis.

Navy ships were not in the search area and there have been no requests as yet for the sea service's surface ships to participate, Davis said.

Navy ships were participating off Souda Bay in Greece in naval exercise Phoenix Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, with European and North African navies. Those U.S. ships could "absolutely" help in the search but the Navy has yet to be asked, Davis said.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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