Investigation Into EgyptAir Plane Crash Widens As LA Airport Steps Up Security

The search for missing EgyptAir Flight 804 entered its second day Friday, with crews scouring the Mediterranean Sea for any sign of the plane that disappeared from the radar with 66 passengers and crew on board.

Searchers were looking at a wide area south of the Greek island of Crete for the Airbus A320, which was nearing the end of its scheduled flight from Paris to Cairo early Thursday when contact was lost.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos says that the plane swerved wildly before plummeting into the sea.

“The plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet,” Kammenos told a news conference Thursday.

More than 24 hours after the plane vanished, investigators had failed to recover any wreckage, while authorities on both sides of the Atlantic said it was too early to definitively say what caused the crash. On Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told France-2 television there was “absolutely no indication” of the cause, while the country’s junior minister for transport, Alain Vidalies, added that “”no theory is favored” at this stage and urged “the greatest caution.”

On Thursday, Egyptian Minister of Aviation Sherif Fathy told reporters the likelihood the plane was brought down by a terror attack was “higher than the possibility of a technical failure.”

Elsewhere in Paris, French authorities scoured Charles de Gaulle Airport, the country’s main hub, for any sign of a security breach prior to the flight’s departure.

Reuters reported that investigators were interviewing officers who were on duty at the airport Wednesday night to determine wether they heard or saw anything suspicious.

“We are in the early stages here,” a police source told Retuers about the investigation.

The Wall Street Journal reported that French investigators were poring over surveillance footage from the airport, as well as performing background checks of those on board the plane and anyone who may have had ground access to the aircraft.

France remains under a state of emergency after attacks by ISIS terrorists killed 130 people in Paris this past November and authorities are sensitive to the possibility of airport workers using their clearances to commit harm.

The Journal reported Thursday that 85 French airport workers have had their security badges withdrawn or blocked because they are on government watch lists for radicalism. Another 600 have lost their clearances due to criminal records.

On Friday, Vidalies defended security at Charles de Gaulle, saying staff badges are revoked if there is the slightest security doubt.

In the U.S., Los Angeles International Airport announced it was stepping up security in the wake of the EgyptAir disappearance. A statement from airport authorites said they were eliminating or restricting airport worker access to 150 doors in the terminals. The statement also said additional airport police officers had been assigned to monitor employee access points and conduct random screenings.

On Thursday, a Department of Homeland Security official told Fox News that while there have been no additional security enhancements, the department’s aviation security posture remain at a heightened alert since the bombing of a Metrojet Flight 928 over the Sinai Penninsula last October. A law enforcement official said there is currently no specific, credible threat targeting U.S. aviation.

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