By Hussein Mahmoud
CAIRO (AA) – Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has slammed a report by U.S. news channel CNN suggesting that Thursday’s deadly EgyptAir plane crash in the eastern Mediterranean had been caused by the pilot committing suicide.
"It’s disrespectful that CNN would insinuate that the tragedy of Egyptair flight MS804 might have been caused by the pilot committing suicide while the families of the victims are still in mourning," ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid tweeted on Saturday.
On Thursday, EgyptAir flight MS804, flying from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board, disappeared over the eastern Mediterranean after entering Egyptian airspace.
In a series of posts on its official Twitter account, EgyptAir said it had lost contact with the plane -- which had been carrying 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel -- in the early hours of Thursday.
On Friday morning, Egyptian state television announced that the army had found the wreckage of the plane.
According to army spokesman Mohamed Samir, search teams had located "some of the passengers’ belongings after debris was found 290 kilometers [roughly 180 miles] north of Alexandria".
Later the same day, Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram reported that the plane’s black box had been "tentatively" detected in an area between three and four nautical miles from the site of the crash.
According to the airline, 30 Egyptians and 15 French -- along with two Iraqis, one Briton, one Belgian, one Portuguese, one Algerian, one Chadian, one Canadian, one Sudanese, one Kuwaiti and one Saudi national -- had been aboard the ill-fated aircraft.