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the airbus a-320, no americans among them. in a news conference in cairo just over an hour ago, egypt's aviation minister said it's more likely the plane was brought down by a terror attack than a mechanical failure. meantime greece's defense minister said the plane fell 22,000 feet and swerved sharply before it disappeared from radar. the jetliner was about a half hour from landing in cairo when radar contact was lost. the weather reportedly good. the flight crew very experienced. families of those on board have been gathering at the airports in cairo and paris. we have all of this covered for you this morning. nbc correspondents standing by. let's go straight to london. nbc news foreign correspondent kelly cobiella with the latest. having such a strong statement from an official saying this is likely a terror act, certainly changes the investigation's
urgency if that's the case. >> that's right, tamron, it required quite a bit of prodding on the part of reporters to get the aviation chief in egypt to go that far when he started this press conference about an hour ago really. he wouldn't even confirm that this in fact is a plane crash that we're talking about, insisting on calling this a missing plane until debris is found. we're now getting these bits of information from various different sources that something has been found in this search area according to one greek official, we're being told that findings have been spotted in the sea, some 130 miles south-southeast of karpathos, this island in the south agean sea. there are reports from reuters and others saying that two objects have been found, more than two objects have been found in describing them but we really don't have a confirmation on
what has been spotted and whether in fact it is from this missing flight 804. just to give you a rundown of the time line, you mentioned it a little bit. this flight took off at 11:09 from paris charles de gaulle airport last night by all accounts a routine flight for three hours and then as this flight approach egyptian air space and greek aviation authorities were handing it over to egyptian air space, something changed. there was a loss of contact with the pilots, greek officials saying they did speak to the pilot at one point about three hours into the flight. and i'll give you eastern times here at about, that would be 7:48 eastern time spoke to the pilot. the pilot was in good spirits and thanked the controller in greek. the next time there was no response despite repeated attempts to contact it. then we have this information
from the greek defense minister, saying that it appears as though this plane dropped significantly, dropped some 22,000 feet, swerved, spun and then fell out of the sky. that's where we stand right now, tamron, we have greek officials as well as egyptian officials searching for this plane in various reports of sightings of debris. >> let's talk about kelly, the security in place at charles de gaulle airport in paris. there have been a number of reports focusing in on that given this new information provided or new speculation provided by the aviation minister out of interest. as i understand, there have been some measures put in place to make sure airport workers were more heavily screened at the airport in paris and other measures put in place to protect passengers and safety there. you'll recall first of all france is under a state of
emergency since the terrorist attacks back in november. after those terrorist attacks, a review was put in place for airport officials, airplane employees at all airports in france in addition to further security checks and police presence in france and belgium. there was a significant focus on security at these airports at really all european airports since the terrorist attacks, there's a heightened awareness of a possibility of some sort of terrorist act. then we have this incident not in a european airport but in egypt, another egyptair flight, this hijacking that happened back in march where a passenger got on board with a fake bomb, claimed that it was real and was able to hijack that plane. of course in that case nobody injured but the fact that this passenger was able to somehow
sneak something on board and pretend as though he had a bomb on board did raise significant concerns. security has been an issue across european airports and it should be noted, there were three security officials on board this flight along with the crew. and the paris -- the french transport minister said that is in fact routine. >> thank you very much. joining me now, lynn newway, deputy chief for reuters in cairo. let me get more detail regarding this it's more likely the plane was brought down by an act of terror. a lot of people focused on the handover from greece to egyptian officials, aviation officials when this critical moment happened here. >> the egyptians in aviation warned people not to focus too much on the possibility of a
technical failure. although, the egyptian authorities don't know what caused the plane to go missing or lose contact. they are saying now that they think that greater possibility that there was foul play involved then technical issues. but of course, until they find more of the wreckage and they are able to examine that and find the black boxes, it's going to be a very difficult for them to draw any conclusions. about what caused the flight to go missing. >> they have been under heavy scrutiny under other tragedies including one that still remains a mystery as to exactly what has happened, a conclusive determination. there's been great scrutiny regarding safety and potential for terrorists to strike. >> that's very much the case.
egypt has been under scrutiny, egyptian airport security has been under scrutiny. don't forget that at the end of october a russian plane also came down. russian -- i mean russia and britain both believe it was brought down by a terrorist bomb. islamic state in fact claimed that they had smuggled a bomb on board and brought that down. egypt has struggled to convince airlines to resume flights to the red sea, certainly russian flights have not yet resumed and that's been a massive, massive cost to the egyptian economy, which relies heavily on tourism. so the latest incident will definitely put even greater pressure on egypt and egyptair
to prove that you know, they run their airlines and airports safely. >> you mentioned isis claiming responsibility for the other -- the plane from russia. there have been reports of an increased number of threats from isis focused on egypt as well in recent weeks and months. >> there have been -- constantly threats from isis. they put videos online all the time making various threats. a few days ago there was a video threatening france. in fact, they -- there have been a greater level of threats. i mean, it's very difficult to say whether those videos which we see all the time are specifically linked to the incident or any particular incident. certainly we have yet to see if a specific claim of
responsibility from any group for today's missing plane. we haven't seen anything. >> all right, thank you very much. i want to bring into the conversation retired nbc aviation correspondent bob hager. he's standing by. i wanted to get with you as you know the relevant questions at this hour that need to be asked as this search continues. some debris spotted. what is the first obvious question that you would want answered here? >> i think if you just did it on speculation, how the scenario went and all, certainly terrorism fits it better than anything else. could have been some explosion on board that was mechanical in nature or break-up of the aircraft. but terrorism is the most logical thing to speculate about. that speculation doesn't really make it for an investigation. so you need some direct evidence of what it was that brought this
plane down. that means locating the wreckage and this is encouraging that it appears that they spotted a couple of pieces floating on the surface from search planes. but you need to know more than that you need to find where the wreckage is under water because that's where the black boxes will be and the physical wreckage that can go more to what caused this. but it's all going to take a lot of time because even if you -- if the surface discovery where the surface material is floating on surface leads you to a specific spot, to try to find the underwater parts of the plane which are the key parts to be looking for, that really involves a lot of effort, equipment and principlely time. >> the facts are and we should focus on that, the airbus about 10 miles into egyptian air space, 20,000 feet, when you hear vanished from radar, we talked about the malaysian air
flight, but that was described as being in one of the most remote areas that we can imagine, that's not the case here. >> that's true. you've got a lot more assets in the area. a lot of things that are secret that are not the kind of radar that the air authorities are using in greece which was tracking it at the time. there should be a lot of military radar available and satellite images will be important. there's been reference to before searching the satellite imagery to see if you see evidence of an explosion. there are things like that that are important too. bumt the physical wreckage, what's floating on surface, finding what's down below, that's the key to the whole thing at this point. >> you mentioned military help in piecing together these final minutes here. we know that the greek defense minister said that the plane made a sudden swerve. that speaks to the resources, not just from each country but military personnel as well to
your point things that we don't even know that exist that are surveillance or surveilling this area. but when you hear sudden swerves made, what does that potentially mean? >> it means something sudden in catastrophic. all of the evidence is the plane was flying along in normal 37,000 feet altitude and boom, it makes a swerve and then swirl and so forth. that indicates it's sort of just dropped from the sky. so that again is a key piece that makes you speculate about terrorism and a bomb. >> let's me bring in keir simmons from charles de gaulle airport. there's a great amount of focus on security at the airport. >> reporter: there really is. there will be questions whatever the outcome of the investigation
and search for the plane. if this was some kind of terrorism related attack, then plainly charles de gaulle airport is supposed to be a very, very secure international airport, huge numbers of passengers from around the world come through here every day every week. on the other hand if something has gone wrong with the plane itself, an airbus 320, flying so normally, that will raise its own set of serious questions. whatever they find, they are going to have to try to figure out exactly what happened and how to address the issues that will be raised. by the way, we are just hearing from the greeks, the greek army general staff saying that of the debris that the greek say have been found saying on greek television that two objects at the area, 220 miles southeast of
cr e cree have been found. without knowing for sure what they have discovered in the mediterranean is the plane. they do seem to be getting closer to being able to say it is a plane at least. that is pretty quick. i covered mh-370 and mh-17. to start to say we've discovered what may be the aircraft, well that suggests that they will be able to quite quickly move towards saying what they think caused this or at least what exactly happened to the plane as it had this kas strofic fall from 37,000 feet. as we know from another greek official, appeared to turn 360 degrees in the air. >> and keir, back to the specific flight and what was going on at departure, as i understand, this is a routine flight. this was the fifth of the day, the final on this route of the day for that airline?
>>. >> reporter: i just lost sound a little bit here. but i think i heard what you were trying to ask about what was happening at the airport, i think? the people who are gathered in the hotel behind me, the airport hotel, the relatives, the family members of those on board will want answers to those questions more than anyone else. that will be one of the issues that investigators will be very quickly looking at. what was the situation at the airport? can they look at security footage? is there any evidence from here at charles de gaulle that may answer the questions. as we know in these cases, finding the plane and black boxes, that is central to finding out what happened to this flight. >> thank you very much. coming up, we'll have new reaction from the white house on this investigation as the search continues for the egyptair flight debris has been spotted. it's not confirmed to be from
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welcome back, our continuing coverage of the search for the egyptair flight that essentially vanished. and now what is believed to be debris has been spotted on the path that you see from paris to cairo that this flight was supposed to take. joining me now is nbc's ron allen outside the white house as we wait to hear more reaction from the administration. ron, i'm sure you've been deep keeping up with details as well. we do not know what brought the aircraft down, already at least one official stating that it appears that this could be an act of terror. no confirmation but when you have an official use that type of language, that certainly
changes the conversation quickly. >> well, indeed it does. i believe there were comments like that from the russians and from the egyptians saying it was perhaps more likely terrorism than technical. i've never heard anything from the united states side indicating that it was possibility of terrorism but certainly that is the huge concern. in fact, we've heard from defense officials here that there's nothing in the initial satellite imagery and intelligence that suggests that the plane was a target of terrorism or it exploded but that's all preliminary. we heard from intelligence officials there's nothing in the chatter among jihadi groups or militants that suggests that there was talk about a possibility or a lead-up, run-up to an attack on aviation. again, all of that is preliminary at this point. so yes, the big concern here is whether this was terrorism or not. the president has been briefed by his homeland security and
terrorism chief. she is just back from belgium about a week or so ago. the united states has been daily, hourly, perhaps, in touch with our european allies about issues like airport security since the bombing in belgium and attacks in paris. this is a huge concern. the united states is very concerned about our allies sharing intelligence, working together to try to stop possible attacks, again not knowing whether this is an attack or not. we know the united states has been trying to step up its efforts against isis in syria and iraq. we know that the militants have been firing back and lashing out in places like baghdad where there's been a series of car bombs over the last week or so that have been horrific and it's been a spike in violence there. again, whether this plane downing, this plane crash, if that's in fact what it was, plays into that or not is unclear. that's the main concern of the united states. we also know the u.s. is sending assets to help in the search and rescue operation.
there's a p-3 orion that is now we believe on station in the mediterranean. and the president has asked to be briefed throughout the course of the day and offered to send whatever other assistance is possible. we hope to hear more from the white house as the hours go by. >> again, the focus is not exclusively on the possibility of this being some type of act of terror, they are looking at mechanical and weather as well. officials are focusing their search for the missing egyptair jet liner near the greek island of karpathos. let's bring in bill karins to focus in on the weather conditions by the simple definition of it. we're told it was good weather at the time. >> yeah, it was perfect weather at the time which is a little surprising. we haven't found more during the daylight hours today. the weather wasn't a factor taking the plane down. we've had clear, perfectly clear skies and now unfortunately sunset will be here in two hours
and 20 minutes. they had all day with perfect sun conditions and hardly any clouds to spot. you know if you go within two more hours and it starts getting dark, the odds of finding anything overnight, it's so much harder unless they infrared can pick up something. even that would be cooled off to whatever the water temperature is in the area. the flight path, the x shows where we lost it on radar. it's still clear for last two and a half hours of daylight. here's the search area and things get interesting. we've had conflicting reports. we had one report about 130 miles something was found in the water to the south-southeast of karpathos, which is very close to where it was lost on radar. then we heard from the greek military that 230 miles southeast of crete they found debris in the water. who knows what they are finding at this point until they pluck it out of the water. that last one was 210, that
takes it to about here. that's the general vicinity where it was lost in radar. both are a possibility. as far as the search area and water temperatures, you've got to think of relatives, they've been thinking -- with all hope hoping someone is surviving and still in the water, falling from the sky in the mediterranean. the hypothermia sets in about 12 -- there's reports as much as 36 to 40 hours someone can last in water temperatures of 68 to 70 degrees. if they haven't found people during the daylight today, now we'll have to go through a night cycle where it will be hard to find anything and that takes us towards 20 to 25 hours. everyone will want to know finding the black box. where did the plane go down exactly. how deep is the water in that vicinity. much of the eastern mediterranean is not that deep. it's not shallow where you can snorkel down, u.s. navy divers can go down 2,000 feet in
specialized suits. we most likely need an under water submersible to go get it. again, this is the map of the search area. we're trying to narrow this down but as i said, only about two hours until the sun sets and things will be difficult. sunrise tomorrow morning in cairo at 4:59 a.m., on east coast time is right around 11:00 p.m. >> and bill, you were discussing just some of the debris and if this is in fact debris from the plane and that the logical conclusion seems to be that way. i'm looking at the images that reportedly are these items that were found floating. how far can this debris field spread in the amount of time we're looking at, some two hours before it is dark there? >> right, as far as -- they have more sophisticated maps as far as the debris and the flow and the currents that are in this region, but this is where it was lost on radar. then if they are starting to
pinpoint some fields here, this isn't that wide. this is 200 to 300 miles. aircrafts can do a zigzag pattern over this pretty easily and quickly. i heard the u.s. p-3 plane is doing the same thing in that area. it wouldn't travel that far -- what's going to be interesting did the plane go down right where it was lost or did it drift off course after it was damaged somehow? we're going to pinpoint this and unfortunately as we go throughout the overnight hours it will be hard to get new details in. for the thoughts of all of the families and loved ones, they are really hoping in the next two hours we can get something concrete before it gets dark. >> to bill's point, 56 passengers, including two infants, a child, three security personnel which we're told is standard. think of air marshals that we know are on some flights here. five cabin crew members, passengers' nationality across the board. so far no americans we're told
on the flight. 30 egyptian, 15 french and list of other individuals from different countries but no one from the united states. but when you see that 56 passengers, included two infants and a child, it brings the heartbreak to a reality. joining us live now from denver, former ntsb senior air safety investigate greg feith. thank you for your time as well. there's a lot of focus on this swerve to the left and then the drop from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet before swerving 360 degrees. that sounds like a roller coaster. how do you describe or what would you focus on is the possibility for that type of movement? >> tamron, we have to be a little cautious with that data because we're not really sure in what context that greek defense minister is providing that information. it was this radar dot, if that's
what they are going to call it, some radar identification. was it a single dot or multiple dots? if it was multiple, that would indicate that possibly there was an in-flight break-up, the aircraft falling or descending at the fast rate to 15,000 feet, again we don't know if that was lateral or vertical. as far as its trajectory. they are finding pieces from the last civilian radar point 50, 60, maybe even 100 miles away. so the airplane as it was descending could have also been traversing laterally to cover a greater distance, which for search efforts could cause problems because now you have a larger area to search. >> and when you though, greg and just to put it in terms of the average traveler, you hear people believe that the most -- i guess the takeoff and landing are what we often focus on with
flights. the idea that an aircraft can drop 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet. you hear that that is catastrophic, that leads people to believe then potentially an attack especially when you look at the history of the airbus and its economical -- there's been no indication of a mechanical problem with this aircraft. >> tamron, you bring up a good point. typically accidents because of the most critical phases of flight are takeoff and landing, that's where the highest probability of risk is for not only the flight crew but passengers. the in route portion, that cruise portion is a very low workload for the pilots. they are monitoring. they would have been getting ready for descent and approach into cairo. that wasn't a lot of maneuvering of the airplane or didn't require a lot of maneuvering. when you have an airplane that comes and desends at the rate that apparently it was desce descending at and possibly having broken up in flight,
there's only two real good probabilities, one there was a mechanical malfunction that rendered the airport incapacity ated similar to that of twa when the center fuel tank let go and compromised the whole fuselage and wing structure, or it was another type of explosive device that was nefariously put on the aircraft that again once it exploded rendered the airport incapacitated and the crew could no longer control the airplane. >> i heard tom costello talk about the manufacturing of the airbus 320 which would make it difficult to see a crack in the aircraft because of the way it's manufactured. can you elaborate what he meant by that? >> there are certain areas we call it the bilg, the belly of the aircraft, there are certain places it's hard to do a visual examination. because those areas are all over the airplane, the manufacturer has come up with other ways to detect cracks through what they call eddie current or die pen
trant. those inspections are done on very repetitive but long duration spacing between these major inspections. if a crack did develop in the bilge and covered up by dirt or grime or paint, you may not visually see that crack starting to progress. we saw that with aloha airlines when the top of the 7:37 came off, people saw cracks that were forming around the door. those were very prominent but these cracks can be hidden. but again, unless we know basically looking at the wreckage and of course the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, they will tell us some of the story but probably not all of the story. >> all right, greg, thank you so much for your time. you'll be joining us throughout the day as we get more information that ut can provide some analysis to it. coming up, foreign editor for "the daily beast" and long time resident of paris christopher
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i want to get you caught up to the latest news. greek officials say debris has been spotted, they believe it to be from egyptair flight 804. the jet liner with 66 people on board disappeared over the mediterranean while in route from paris to rkir row. egypt's aviation minister said it was more likely the planewise brought down by terror attack then mechanical failure. he did not elaborate further than that. the egyptair jetliner was a half hour from landing in cairo when radar contact was lost. greek's defense minister said the plane made abrupt turns and lost altitude before vanishing from radar. family members of those on board have been gathered at airports in paris and cairo, waiting for
word. no americans listed among the 56 passenger or ten crew members and security personnel. two infants and a child were on the list of passengers. joining me now, foreign correspondent ahman mohyeldin. there's been a great amount of focus on the security in egypt, specifically after the crash in sinai. this brings us back to the question of security again. >> there have been a lot of questions because egyptair has a checkered past both at the security level at these airports particularly the smaller airports as well as the airline itself in some of the pilots and some of the actual mechanics involved in the way these airlines are maintained and serviced. if you look at the history of egyptair within the past 25 or 30 years there have been at least eight different incidents, many resulting in fatal crashes. some of them a result of hijacking or mechanical errors.
perhaps most notorious -- the one we think of perhaps most recently the one that took place in 1999 egypt air flight 990 that took off from here in jfk in new york heading to egypt. that was taken down by the pilot. the egyptian government says this was a result of a mechanical error. but more recently you had the egyptair flight 181 that took off from alexandria in northern egypt heading to cairo but that was hijacked and diverted to cypress. those give you example of the background of the personnel who work at egyptair, plus the security lapses that have occurred on the plane itself. and as you mentioned metro jet, the russian airliner that took off from the sinai and according to isis and western intelligence officials that was taken down as a result of an explosion smuggled on the plane. there has been a lot of scrutiny about egyptian security at airports as well as egyptair.
the egyptian government maintains that security has b n beenbeefed up and in compliance with planes as well as security. given the track record of egyptair and what it has gone through, you can understand why there are a lot of questions as to whether or not this is something more sinister than simply mechanical error and perhaps even terrorism. >> it's also interesting as you noted the incident in 1999, you had egyptian officials saying one thing but other intelligence indicating a possible hijack. when you look at the flight last october the russian passenger plane, moscow saying that it was a branch of isis that may have brought this down with this explosive. as i understand it, we're still waiting for a conclusion from egyptian investigators on what brought down that plane. >> egyptian officials follow a very similar pattern with many of these incidents. they tend to at first ask everyone to wait until the information is gathered despite
overwhelming evidence that may come to light, for example in the case of the metro jetliner that included both the u.s. and western and other intelligence agencies saying they picked up chatter, satellite imagery suggesting a bump. the egyptians waited and waited until they were able to detect explosive residue on the plane. even then were not willing to say it was as a result of an explosive device. in the past the pattern has been from the egyptian government to deflect the questioning around these incidents. they encourage everyone to wait. hopefully down the line then will issue a final conclusive report that may be at odds with what western agencies and others including sometimes the airliners involved in investigations have concluded. in this case we heard from the civil aviation ministry, they followed that very same pattern encouraging everyone to wait for the final conclusion. you can imagine the frustration that brings to families and investigators that the egyptians sometimes are not as forth right
with the information that they have qwhen it comes to what may be the cause of these incidents. >> with me, christopher dickey based in paris. here we are again, a group of family members gathered at a location in france, bracing for the possibility that this is an act of terror. we do not know but you saw the headline and i'm sure the reaction as many, hoping that this was not again another attack. >> sure, it's heartbreaking any way you cut it, whether it was an accident and whatever caused this crash, it's heartbreaking for the families in egypt and families in paris. i think in france, the consequences in fact all over the western world the consequences will be huge if this does turn out to be a terrorist attack. remember, little things, even unsuccessful terrorist attacks have changed our lives. in 2006 you could still take bottles of water on a plane. you can't do that anywhere. before 2001 you could wear sneakers and not take them off for security. now we've seen the disastrous
long lines in chicago for airport security just this last week. think what it will be like now. >> what are changes that you can note at charles de gaulle specifically since the terror attacks in paris, the series of them? >> a lot of changes have taken place. it's harder to get into the airport. you have to wait before you get into the airport, not always but that does happen. they are always on very high alert. there are uniformed military patrolling the airport with their assault rifles at the ready. there's a lot of stuff that goes on that you don't see. but there are 86,000 employees at that airport. it is a city. >> there was one report i read this morning that the level of scrutiny that the employees have to go through every day is far more than what we see here at our airports, that they each day must go through the same security check that a passenger would. essentially not treating them as an employee until they are
cleared that day. is that the case? >> they may be cleared for the day that way but that's not the way they are cleared in the course of the day. i mean, i can tell you, i fly in and out of those airports all the time. you can be standing there and there will be staffers and people with their badges who walk just hold it up and walk through. there's always the pobltd for a leak when you've got that many people and human element like that. >> there were also reports after the terror attacks in belgium and of course in paris, that there were huge changes out of fear that people could be radicalized and see that there's a city being the airport they could infiltrate. did you see changes? >> these were not changes you would see immediately. it has to do with how you interrogate and question the employees, in france there's an issue. there's no racial or religious identification in french government policy. so you can't say are you a muslim, tell me about that? what are your beliefs as a muslim, theer receiptically you
can't say that, it makes it more difficult for police to patrol the question. >> our thoughts with families waiting in cairo and paris to hear. the cause of this does not solve their pain, which is now their loved one may very well have died in this crash. thank you so much for your time. coming up, we still do not know what brought down the flight but egypt's top aviation official says that terrorism is more likely than mechanical failure. why he said that comment and we'll see if we can get more details on what led to at least that reaction a short time ago from that official. we'll be right back. it's a drone you control with your brain, which controls your thumbs, which control this joystick. no, i'm actually over at the ge booth. we're creating the operating system for industry. it's called predix. it's gonna change the way the world works. ok, i'm telling my brain to tell the drone to get you a copy of my resume. umm, maybe keep your hands on the controller. look out!! ohhhhhhhhhh...
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to assist but right now the ntsb is monitoring. we're also awaiting statements or something from the white house given some of the speculation that's come forth from officials investigating out of egypt. now that country's top aviation official is saying that it's more likely that the missing egyptair flight was brought down by terrorism than mechanical failure. the investigation of course at a very early stage. let's bring in nbc news terrorism analyst evan coleman. we highlight this because this is not an anonymous source or random individual, this is an official who was on camera saying that this is the possibility here. what kind of chatter or what can you tell us regarding isis and its focus on egypt as of late? >> yeah, look, there's no doubt that isis has issued a number of fairly serious threats to both france and egypt frankly in the last few months.
of course we've seen a number of fairly serious terrorist attacks targeting infrastructure in egypt. that being said there's been no credible claims of responsibility from isis or from any other jihadi group thus far. there was some kind of audio recording distributed overnight but the date on the audio recording didn't seem to match, seemed to be a misprint. you ask yourself in terms of time frame, we rarely see isis take more than 12 hours after a particular incident takes place to take credit for it. and 12 hours has now passed. does this mean it's not terrorism? we don't know but it's rare for isis to take this long to claim credit for a major international incident. we'll have to see what develops the rest of the afternoon. thus far, as far as terrorist groups are concerned, nobody has claimed credit for this. >> thank you very much. coming up, we'll talk to a 25-year air way veteran who ran the safety office for u.s. airways. we'll be right back. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and you're talking to your doctor about your medication...
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it is 4:51 local time. the sun will be setting very soon. potentially making it difficult for the search teams who are out right now looking over the debris -- potential debris field that's been spotted. let me bring in nbc news aviation analyst captain john cox, a pilot with u.s. airways for 25 years and expert in international aviation safety. thank you so much for your time. there's been a lot of back and forth over whether or not the aircraft swerved, did it drop suddenly at nearly 37,000 feet when it vanished. but when you hear that potentially there was a swerve sudden swerve, what does that sound like to you? >> well, first i want to validate the data, it would be very unusual to have an airplane maneuver in the way that this description is.
it sounds as though someone has been briefed and they are trying to put it into terms and in that translation something is getting lost. as an investigator, i would want to look at the data and see what type of event could cause that and also to validate the radar data itself. it is not always precise, you need to be very careful about it. until we have a little bit more information, i'm a little skeptical of that. it's certainly possible but i want to see some validation of that. >> what we do know is the history of the airbus, seen as a reliable aircraft. what more can you tell me about the airbus? >> i flew the airbus a-320 for six years, it's a great airplane, been in service since the middle 1980s. there's one takes off about every two and a half seconds somewhere in the world. there's some 6,000 in service. it's enjoyed a very good safety
record. and so the investigators are going to look carefully at the maintenance of the aircraft, at any issues that they come up with. so at this stage, everything is on the table and that's what we're going to have to keep focused on until we get more data. >> captain john cox, thank you for your time. we will be right back. igent one. ♪ the all-new audi a4, with available virtual cockpit. ♪ one day a rider made a decision. the decision to ride on and save money. he decided to save money by switching his motorcycle insurance to geico. there's no shame in saving money. ride on, ride proud. geico motorcycle,
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... two types of good bacteria. trubiotics. be true to your health. good morning, everyone, i'm tamron hall. we continue to follow breaking news out of egypt. we're getting new information that includes that the ntsb is monitoring the situation, the investigation and may be sending assistance to help the egyptian offis