Smoke was detected in multiple places on EgyptAir Flight 804 moments before it plummeted into the Mediterranean, but the cause of the crash that killed all 66 on board remains unclear, the French air accident investigation agency says. Agency spokesman Sebastien Barthe tells the AP that the plane's automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before the plane disappeared from radar while flying over the eastern Mediterranean early on Thursday morning. The messages, he says, "generally mean the start of a fire," but he adds: "We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture."
The aircraft had been cruising normally in clear skies early Thursday when it suddenly lurched left, then right, spun all the way around, and plummeted 38,000 feet into the sea. Aviation experts have said the erratic flight suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit. But so far no hard evidence has emerged. Search crews found floating debris and human remains on Friday, and photos posted on the Facebook page of Egypt's chief military spokesman appear to show the remains of plane seats, life jackets, and a scrap of cloth that looks to be part of a baby's blanket. Search crews from Egypt and five other countries—Greece, Britain, France, the US, and Cyprus—are searching a wide area of the eastern Med for further wreckage.