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Continuing Coverage of the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804; Possible Second Chibok Girl Found; U.S. Presidential Candidates Weigh In on EgyptAir Plane Crash. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 20, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hello there. I'm Robyn Curnow. Welcome to our continuing coverage of the crash of the EgyptAir plane. We begin with the
grim discovery of airplane wreckage and human remains in the Mediterranean.
Search teams are looking for more victims, more wreckage from Flight 804 and the critical flight recorders that could reveal if a bomb brought down
the plane. Becky Anderson has the latest.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sign EgyptAir Flight 804 has been found. An Egyptian military spokesman says passenger belongings
and parts of the aircraft have been located north of the coastal city of Alexandria. As the French foreign minister insists that the Paris airport
from which the Airbus 320 departed was completely secure.
JEAN-MARC AYRAULT, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): The government strengthened all its measures following the January attacks.
Everything has been done to reinforce everywhere.
ANDERSON: U.S. government officials serving as analysts in the investigation are operating under the theory that a bomb brought down the
missing jet, but they have yet to find any indications of an explosion.
JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I'm not aware of any sensors that the U.S. military deploys that picked anything up on this.
ANDERSON: The French foreign minister cautioning that terrorism is currently a suspicion, not based on any concrete evidence.
AYRAULT (through translator): We need to give the maximum amount of information in order to give the truth. We owe this to the families.
ANDERSON: The plane last contacting Greek traffic controllers at 1:48 a.m. but not responding to repeated calls just 40 minutes later. And after
another 2 minutes, completely dropping off radar. Egypt aviation, pointing to this strange communications pattern, says it seems more likely to have
been a terrorist act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical.
ANDERSON: And Greek officials say the plane swerved, then plunged, before apparently falling into the Mediterranean. The U.S. officials say the
swerving may just be the pieces of the plane in the sky picked up by the radar, supporting the theory there was some kind of explosion 37,000 feet
in the air.
AHMED ADEL, EGYPTAIR VICE PRESIDENT: The aircraft scheduled maintenance was done on time. There was no snags or anything that was earlier
CURNOW: That was CNN's Becky Anderson reporting there from Cairo.
Now for the view from Paris, Atika Shubert is outside Charles de Gaulle airport where the EgyptAir flight started its journey.
Hi, there, Atika. Terrorism still not confirmed but Paris very much a focus of this investigation.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is where the first steps of the investigation begin.
Now what they're scrutinizing is exactly who had access to the plane before it took off. That means they're now interviewing cleaners, baggage
handlers, catering, anybody who might have been able to get aboard that plane.
So this is where the focus on -- is on at the moment. Now also, airport security announced today that they're stepping up some more security
measures. They say that in June an extra 30 intelligence officers will be deployed throughout the airport. That's in addition to the already 5,700
security agents operating here.
So this is clearly one of the most secure airports in Europe but, you know, as has been repeatedly said by security analysts and by airport officials
here, nothing is 100 percent. That's why they keep continuing to review security to see if there were any weak links -- Robyn.
CURNOW: When we talk about weak links, also a lot of focus on more than 80,000 people have these so-called red badges. Tell us about that.
SHUBERT: That's right. More than 80,000, actually, in both the Charles de Gaulle airport and the Orly airport have red badges. These badges allow
you access to the restricted areas of the airports.
But it is tough to get a red badge you go through a police check and you go through additional screening, before you and I have to go through screening
to board a plane, checking for any liquids we have, laptops, et cetera, they go through those checks as well.
And in addition to that, behind the scenes you have sometimes -- personnel have their own lockers; those lockers get swept and get checked as well.
People go for periodic reviews, they check time logs to see if anyone has called in sick.
These are the kinds of details they go through. And the weak point has always been what about that back door vulnerability, cleaning staff and so
forth who may have access to the plane. And this what Charles de Gaulle and --
SHUBERT: -- other airports are trying to tighten up on.
CURNOW: Yes. Meanwhile, behind you, people arrive, leave, take off. This is an airport still very much in operation.
SHUBERT: Exactly. As you can see people are boarding, coming and going but even having said that it is at its highest state of alert. We do see
armed French soldiers patrolling from time to time. There are spot checks of bags.
So it's as much security as you can have while keeping the airport operating normally. Now we'll have to see what comes out of the
investigation of the wreckage but, at the moment, that's where security stands here.
CURNOW: Atika Shubert in Paris, thanks so much for that.
So if the plane was brought down by a terror group many are asking, why is there no claim of responsibility?
There's also a worrying theory out there this could have been a dry run for a much bigger or broader attack later on. A lot of questions, a lot of
scenarios. CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo, is among the first to bring up
that possibility. She joins us now.
Hi, there, Mary. The possibility --
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Hello.
CURNOW: Hi, there. The possibility of a dry run, explain.
SCHIAVO: Well, I suppose that occurred to me because there was a very horrific plot. It was called Project Bojinka back in 1995. That's when I
was inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
And that was an Al Qaeda-related plot. There were also other terror groups assisting and in that plot what was going to occur was a dozen jetliners
were going to be taken out while crossing the Pacific.
But while putting that plan into place, they did a test run and they did a test run to try a bomb on a plane and they were able to do that and at that
time they took no credit. They were just testing out for what was to be a bigger plot, which fortunately was foiled.
Move ahead to 2006, there was another plot, also by Al Qaeda, and in this plot, what was going to happen is they were going to use hydrogen peroxide-
based carried-aboard bombs, explosive devices. And they were going to take out seven planes flying from London to the United States. And that was
foiled two weeks before it was going to happen and that's what caused us to have the liquids ban.
So in many -- in at least those two major plots in the past, there was no credit or there was supposed to be completely silent running until the
bigger plot, until the bigger plan came to fruition.
CURNOW: We've just been listening to our correspondent, Atika, there in Paris say that over 80,000 people have these so-called red badges, which
allows them into the reserved zones of that airport and the other airport in France.
What's the comparison with other airports around the world and particularly with American airports?
In many ways the French security is stronger.
SCHIAVO: Well, it depends on what part of the security you're looking at. Yes, for example, in Atlanta, Hartsfield, has that many employees at
Hartsfield. It's a city itself. You know, it's bigger than a lot of American cities, just the workforce at the airport.
But there's a difference in the security clearances and the background clearances. For example, in the United States we have the TSA, a highly
criticized government agency, but the background checks those workers receive include what's called a more full-field background check,
associations are checked, thousands are checked, finances are checked.
So there would be more ways to tell if you had associations with any kind of a terror group. And in the United States, if you had an association
with a terror group, first of all, that's a crime. You cannot. And you would not be able to keep a job at the airport; where, in Paris, those who
had the associations when they did the locker check, for example, some of them got their security clearances stripped but they continued to work in
nonsecure jobs at the airport.
The airport said it was because of French law. So I think that's a big difference in how you approach anyone with sort of a known association.
But then in the United States, we have tens of thousands of airport workers who report to work in the bowels of the airport without going through
security. So there's criticisms of both.
CURNOW: Let's talk about another aspect of this conversation. The previous trips, the previous airports this plane stopped at, this was --
when it went down, it was on its fifth journey of the day. What do you make of that?
I think we have a list, a map there as you can see on the screen, of where this flight stopped beforehand.
How important is it?
And how much do you think sweeping an aircraft is fool-proof?
Is it 100 percent certain that each aircraft is swept every time it lands at one of these locations.
SCHIAVO: No, when I analyze or when I take a look at the latest crash or incident or terror incident that we're looking at, I always look back at
SCHIAVO: -- past plots or crashes that I have worked on and two come to mind. And one is of course, Pan Am 103. And in that case, the explosive
device was put on the plane in Malta, it went to Perth, it went to London and then it came down over Lockerbie, Scotland, with the explosive device.
And so there were many stops.
And another one, North Korea wanted to bring down a KAL South Korean jetliner and in that case they boarded the plane and they placed the device
in the overhead bin.
And then those two operatives, those two terrorists from North Korea got off the plane and that device remained in the plane as successful. So
every place that plane has been, not even necessarily just 24 hours, if the device was well hidden, could have been put on the plane at any stop in the
days before the flight.
Every stop is vitally important. And so literally the countries around the world should all be helping to follow criminal leads, if that's what it is,
criminal leads to solve this mystery.
CURNOW: OK. Mary Schiavo, thank you so much for your expertise. Appreciate it.
SCHIAVO: Thank you.
CURNOW: Want to take us now to Crete, which has been used as a base of search and recovery operations. CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic
Robertson, is there, standing by.
Hi, there, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Hi, there, Robyn.
Two C-130 military transport aircraft operating out of this military base, one is on standby being ready for its next mission; another of those
recovery aircraft, the C-130s, is out flying a mission right now.
I don't know if you can see, but it's started to rain here. This was a weather front that's been moving in through the day. The conditions early
this morning were bright, they were clear, the sea was calm, the wind has picked up. So this will be when this weather front gets a little further
south, will be impacting on that recovery effort.
It will be impacting on the visibility from these aircraft that are flying, looking for more debris above what's being found already.
Of course, we've been told by the Greek authorities here, some human remains, parts have been recovered; two seats recovered and a suitcase or
suitcases recovered. This airbase here quiet right now but we're expecting the return of that other C-130 that's out over the Mediterranean sea right
We're expecting that to return back here in the coming hours -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Obviously they're scouring a massive area here. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. But we have heard some reports of an oil slick
Is that wishful thinking?
This is a very busy maritime route or do you think that they've homed in on a possible greater location here?
ROBERTSON: What we know is the debris that's recovered today has come from -- has been positively identified as coming from the aircraft. That's just
southeast of where the aircraft disappeared off the radar.
Now the European Space Agency that has reported this sighting of an oil slick says that it is in this same area that the debris that it's picked up
today has been discovered. It's not clear yet if it is actually associated with this aircraft. It would be normal, when an aircraft goes down, that
that hydraulic fluid would be leaked, that aviation fuel would be leaked, that they would come to the surface.
But again, until a vessel on the surface can get there, make a visible identification, take some samples, test those fluids, test that oil that's
spotted from satellite, it won't be clear.
Of course there is a lot of traffic in the Mediterranean so it's too early to say positively yet this is from the EgyptAir 804. However, there are
other aircraft in the air; there's a United States Orion P-3 surveillance aircraft in the air.
The Greek authorities here have another surveillance aircraft in the air as well. There's a British naval vessel operating out of the Akrotiri base in
Cyprus; that is on the scene as well as the Egyptian authorities.
So this is a large-scale effort and any tips and indications, such as the help that appears to be coming from the European Space Agency right now,
all of that is going to be put in the pool of information and used to try and figure out more precisely, now they have got some debris, precisely
where the plane actually went down -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Thanks so much. On location there, Nic Robertson, appreciate it.
Still ahead, you're watching CNN. We'll look at Egypt's record when it comes to airline crashes. A 1999 crash killed more than 200 people.
Evidence showed it was deliberate. But Egypt still blames a mechanical failure.
CURNOW: Searchers are looking for the flight data recorders and other remnants of EgyptAir Flight 804. The European Space Agency says they've
seen what could be an oil slick near where the plane likely went down in the Mediterranean.
Greek officials describe a grim discovery: human remains and parts of an airplane seat. The Egyptian military says their search teams found those
and other debris about 300 kilometers north of the coastal city of Alexandria.
At least two U.S. officials are among those who suspect the plane was brought down by a bomb. For more on that, let's go to CNN terrorism
analyst, Paul Cruickshank. He joins us now from Brussels.
Hi, there, Paul.
What, in your assessment of the evidence in front of us -- it's still difficult to confirm terrorism, people say keep an open mind.
But what do you make of the evidence in front of you?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERROR ANALYST: Robyn, there just simply isn't any solid evidence at this point pointing towards terrorism. There's been some
speculation from some Egyptian officials, from some U.S. officials.
But the kind of solid evidence that really would prove it's terrorism we've just not yet heard about yet. That would include examination of the
wreckage, looking at signs that there's been some kind of explosion, analyzing satellite data for some kind of explosion.
So far, at least according to Reuters, they have not detected from satellite surveillance any kind of midair explosion.
And there's another puzzling aspect of this, Robyn, which is that no terrorism group has claimed responsibility for this incident. And we're
almost up to about 40 hours now after this plane went down.
ISIS has been very trigger happy in the past about claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks, notably back in October of last year; it took just
five hours for it to put out a claim of responsibility when that Russian airliner went down over the Sinai Peninsula, was bombed out --
CURNOW: Ah, dear. We seem to have lost Paul Cruickshank there. We will continue to try and get him back on the show.
In the meantime, if terrorism caused the crash it would be the third attack on aviation in Egypt in a matter of months. And Egypt's vital tourism
industry is likely to suffer further.
As Elise Labott reports, the country's air security record is now under intense security.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hours after the plane disappeared from radar, the Egyptian government said the
plane was likely brought down by an act of terrorism.
EGYPTIAN CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER: If you analyze the situation properly, the possibility of having a different action or having a terror attack is
higher than the possibility of having a technical...
LABOTT (voice-over): The plane went down just a day after Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo for urgent talks with Egypt's president about
the growing terror threat. Today, Kerry was quick to offer help.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States is --
KERRY: -- providing assistance in the search effort. And relevant authorities are doing everything they can to try to find out what the facts
are of what happened today.
LABOTT (voice-over): It took four months for Egypt to acknowledge terrorists were to blame for last October's bombing of a Russian airliner
over Egypt's Sinai, killing all 224 aboard.
That was months after ISIS posted photos of a bomb it says it planted in a soda can to bring down the plane. And Russia, the U.S. and other countries
publicly said terrorists were responsible.
PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: That was a direct reflection on the lack of professionalism the security forces at the airport and it was a
blow to their tourism industry. So they needed -- they were resisting any indication that they were responsible for this.
LABOTT (voice-over): To this day, Egypt insists the 1999 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 was brought on by mechanical failure even though American
investigators released a transcript of a cockpit voice recorder they say confirms their findings that the pilot deliberately nosedived the plane
into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 217 passengers and crew.
French officials say this time it may be easier for Cairo to point the finger at terrorism after Flight 804 made stops in Tunisia and Eritrea
before being searched in Paris.
GOELZ: It says, listen, Egypt tries to do the best job that it can in combating terrorism. We have our hands full.
But a country like France with far more resources that we do, they weren't able to catch this. This is a big job and we all got to do it together.
LABOTT (voice-over): With President El Sisi under fire for human rights abuses a notch of terrorism could also validate claims his crackdown is in
the name of security.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The government can say, look, we are vulnerable and we need to ensure that not only our citizens
are safe but that foreign visitors and others who are on airplanes are safe.
LABOTT: If the plane was brought down by terrorists it will be another devastating blow to Egypt's already weakened tourist industry, which
already suffered a major hit after the Metrojet crash of 40 percent loss of revenue.
The government had big plans to revive the tourist industry, including enhanced security measures. But the EgyptAir crash will only fuel concerns
about air travel to Egypt -- Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: OK. And we are going to try again with Paul Cruickshank in Brussels. We have reconnected.
Your signal is back up. And you were talking about the concerns around security in Europe and the fact that it was unusual that nobody had claimed
responsibility for this, if this is, indeed, terrorism.
CRUICKSHANK: That's right, Robyn. There's been a real deafening silence from terrorist groups, notably ISIS in the wake of this incident, 40 hours
on now with that Metrojet terrorist attack over the Sinai Peninsula that ISIS did carry out; they claimed responsibility five hours after that
attack. We're 40 hours in now.
So very puzzling, no claim of responsibility from a terrorist group. They would want to put out a statement; they're able now to do that much more
quickly in the social media age. So very puzzling to terrorism analysts that no statement has been put forward by any terrorist group.
That, of course, may change. Al Qaeda historically has taken a little bit longer than ISIS to put out statements, notably that attempted attack on a
Somali airliner took a long -- a longer period of time for Al Qaeda to claim responsibility, more than 11 days -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. Some sort of kerfuffle happening behind you. We'll continue to talk. Hopefully, you know, your camera doesn't fall over, like the
looks of things.
But just talk us through; I mean, Elise was mentioning it there, that soda can, it doesn't take a lot in many ways. It's a rather simple procedure,
at least technically to create some of these explosives. The real tricky part is getting it on a plane.
CRUICKSHANK: Exactly right. And very, very difficult to do that in Europe, in the United States, because the cutting-edge technology, state-
of-the-art machines are actually really good at detecting explosives, especially when you've got a combination of multiview X-rays, the most
powerful X-rays in terms of resolution, and explosive trace detection, which is those swabs used to find minute residues of explosive on surfaces.
When you have that sort of layered, security it's very difficult to beat. And that security at a place like Charles de Gaulle applies not just to
passengers but also for a lot of the workers going into those sensitive areas; every time they go in, according to European Union regulations, that
there are very rigorous standards of security screening --
CRUICKSHANK: -- now for airport workers. So hard for any terrorist group to pull off an attack at somewhere like Charles de Gaulle, getting a bomb
on a plane, even if they have insider help.
And that has made some security analysts look at more at where this plane was in the 24 hours before the incident; notably, in some parts of the
developing world like Eritrea, like Tunis, like Cairo.
And there's been a realization for quite some time that the Achilles heel of the global aviation system is these -- are these airports in the
developing world, where they've lagged behind in deploying state-of-the-art machines and some of the training they give people at the airport and their
protocols for protecting against the insider threat.
And, of course, the last two times that terrorists have managed to get bombs onto planes in Somalia, also in Egypt, there have been airport
insiders, which have helped get those bombs onto the planes in those cases.
And with the Somalia example, which is the most recent example in February of this year, there were two airport workers who were recruited by the
terrorist group Al-Shabaab, they were given a sophisticated laptop bomb, which they actually managed to get through an X-ray scan.
And perhaps because they were given less scrutiny because they worked at the airport, they then handed that off to another recruit, who actually got
on board the plane and almost bombed it out of the sky. He was actually blown out of the aircraft.
But everybody else survived because the plane wasn't at those high altitudes, where you can have that explosive deep pressurization.
In the weeks, afterwards, as our CNN correspondent, Robyn Kriel, has reported, there were other laptop bombs that they were trying to get on
board planes in Somalia.
And of course Somalia not that far away from Eritrea, which was one of the places where this plane was in the 24 hours before the attack.
The question being, could terrorists have got a bomb on a plane somewhere in the Middle East or Africa, where there's less security?
We'll have to see the answer to that. We of course don't even know if this was terrorism at this point because there is no solid evidence yet pointing
CURNOW: Yes. Good point. Thank you so much, Paul Cruickshank there in Brussels.
Well, our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, lived in Cairo for many years and he covered the 1999 EgyptAir crash. He joins me now
live from Rome.
And Elise Labott just a few moments ago was laying out EgyptAir's security history and it's not great.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The EgyptAir security, we need to separate that from their ability afterwards, the Egyptian civil
aviation authority's ability to investigate.
Now if you look at the case of the EgyptAir 990, which went down on the 31st of October 1999, that really was a case where Egyptian officials did
not know how to react to this crash that left 217 people dead off the coast of Long Island.
I remember on that day, when we were trying to find out what was happening, a senior Egyptian official told me with a straight face that the airplane
had landed at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California and that all the passengers were alive and well.
Obviously complete nonsense. But Egyptian officials were flummoxed with how to deal with this crash and were even more in a tizzy when it came out,
when the NTSB came out with the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, which indicated that the co-pilot, Gameel Al-Batouti, had actually taken
the plane, taken control of the plane and flown it into the sea.
And to this day, they continue to insist that that plane went down as a result of a technical or mechanical failure.
Now what's interesting in this instance, in the case of EgyptAir Flight 804, is that the civil aviation minister, the same day, is saying -- is
coming out and saying it could well be more likely a terrorist incident than a mechanical failure.
So I think we're seeing a gradual evolution in the thinking of Egyptian officials that perhaps it's better to consider all possibilities publicly
rather than go off on a tangent.
As we saw with the Metrojet airliner as well, which went down on the October 31st of last year, where we saw Egyptian officials for months
denying the suggestion it was a terrorist attack, the Egyptian media going off on wild tangents.
I spoke to one very otherwise well educated newspaper editor, who told me that the Metrojet airliner was brought down by a high-tech laser beam fired
from Israel and many Egyptians tend to believe the wilder conspiracy theories --
WEDEMAN: -- because they don't want to consider the possibility that there may be holes in airport security. There may be other reasons than sinister
foreign plots for these incidents to take place through their planes or other planes in Egyptian airspace -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Ben Wedeman, thanks for your perspective. Appreciate it.
Still ahead, more questions, as Ben says, than answers crash of EgyptAir Flight 804. We'll have latest on the investigation live from Cairo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
CURNOW: Hello. I'm Robyn Curnow. Our breaking news coverage of the crash of the EgyptAir plane continues.
Egypt has formed a special investigative committee to look into the crash. Let's get the latest from CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa
Damon; she's outside Cairo International Airport, where a crisis center has been set up.
CURNOW: Hi, there, Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. And search teams have managed to make some fairly morbid discoveries. They have
managed to find what are being described as human remains; unclear if they are the victims of the flight or if perhaps they're the bodies of migrants
or others who have drowned at sea.
They're also managed to find some parts of the plane, such as seats as well as some suitcases. But the actual body of the plane, that is what they are
still looking for.
And of course, they still do not yet have the answers that the families are so desperately searching for at this stage and many others as well as to
how and why this plane all of a sudden dropped --
CURNOW: We seem to have lost Arwa Damon this hour. We are having a lot of glitches, it appears. But that's live television.
Apparently now Arwa is back. Let's try.
Arwa, continue; we lost you momentarily.
DAMON: Yes. Sorry about that, Robyn.
The families, of course, as I was saying, now trying to cope with the very difficult emotions that they are going through, the reality that they have
lost someone who they love, someone who they expected to simply get on a plane like so many others do and arrive safely at their destination.
Now at one of the mosques here in Cairo, our Ian Lee went to Friday prayers that were being held in memory of the crew members, who presumably perished
in that crash.
And family, friends of crew there, gathering again, as I was saying, trying to cope with the depths of the emotions. But also at the same time, there
was a fair amount of anger at the notion that the crew was somehow responsible for this plane going down or that Egypt and EgyptAir itself
DAMON: -- somehow responsible. They, too, searching for those answers as to what may or may not have taken place that did cause this plane to drop
suddenly from the sky.
There are also some family members of the French nationals and others who were on board that plane that have been arriving overnight and throughout.
They have been briefed by Egyptian authorities.
But what's proving to be incredibly difficult along with the fact that they are having to cope with their emotions is this lack of information, how
difficult it has been to get information, quite simply because the information isn't out there.
Investigators haven't yet been able to piece together what happened. And, of course, that search for the actual body of the plane, the wreckage
itself, is still very much ongoing -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, indeed. Thanks so much, Arwa Damon in Cairo.
Let's see how the weather is impacting the search and recovery. Alison Chinchar is standing by for that.
When we were speaking to Nic Robertson a little bit earlier, who's on the ground in Greece, he said it had started raining.
What does that mean?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, what that means is that system that's in Greece is going to be making its way over the open waters, where
that search and rescue is going on.
CURNOW: Alison, thanks so much for that.
And as details of what exactly happened come in bit by bit, so, too, do the details of the 66 victims aboard the flight. CNN's Brynn Gingras is
following the story. She joins me now live from New York.
Sixty-six souls, leaving behind many, many people heartbroken.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Robyn, it doesn't get anymore devastating than this. As we're still continuing to learn the names of
those people who were on board -- you mentioned 66 people. It breaks down that 10 of them were part of the crew; 56 people passengers and, among
them, all different ages, including two infants and one child. And they came from several countries.
A majority of them were Egyptian nationals but they also came from a dozen other countries, as you're seeing right there.
And we do have some names. First, I want to start with the pilots. The pilot himself was Mohammed Saeed Shoukair. And we also have his co-pilot,
was Mohamed Mamdouh Ahmed Asi (ph). Now they've been described as good people. They were experienced pilots.
And we talked to family members a little bit earlier today, who said that they loved their job; they loved doing this and there would be absolutely
no reason why they wouldn't have piloted this plane perfectly.
Now we also know about some other people that were passengers on this flight,
Ahmed Helal, he was 40 years old, he was working in France with Procter & Gamble, he actually worked in the United States at first and then moved to
France. And he was headed to Egypt to visit his sick father.
We also heard about Marwa Hamdy, she has three children and she was living in Cairo. But she's a Canadian national and we learned from the school
where those children are attending, they posted on Facebook, just talking about how much of a great mother she was, how many people actually are
going to miss her.
They mentioned in that Facebook post, a devoted and loving mother. She was greatly appreciated by everyone who had a chance to deal with her.
And also Richard Osman, he was 40 years old. He is from Wales but he was living in Paris and we learned about him from ITV news. They interviewed
his brother, who said that he just had a baby, 14 months old.
His wife learned that he was on this flight when she learned these news reports that that plane had gone down and they also talked to his brother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALASTAIR OSMAN, RICHARD'S BROTHER: Richard was a very kind person, a very loving person, very focused. He was a workaholic and never deviated from
the straight path. So, yes, he was just, you know, a very admirable person. And I think a lot of people admired him for his strength and
GINGRAS: And his brother said this was a flight that he often took. So this was nothing out of the ordinary to be on this flight for him. And he
also said one thing he wanted to mention was these terrorists, Robyn, they don't remember, that all these people on board, they have family members.
They have lives. And that's what makes this tragically sad -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes. Leaving behind a 2-week-old new baby, thanks so much.
Our coverage of the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 will continue.
But next, some of the other major stories we're working on here at CNN, including claims that a second Chibok schoolgirl has been found in Nigeria.
Stay with us.
CURNOW: This is CNN. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks for joining me.
Some activists are disputing a claim by the Nigerian army that it has found another Chibok girl, one of more than 200 abducted by Boko Haram two years
ago. Let's go straight to Nigeria. David McKenzie is in Abuja with more on this conflicting information.
Hi, there, David.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Robyn. Yes, there's more doubt being put on this claim that a second girl from Chibok, one of the
more than 200 girls that were abducted by Boko Haram more than two years ago, has been released, rescued by the Nigerian military.
The activist we've spoken to with Bring Back Our Girls, the movement, say that she is from that region but she wasn't abducted from Chibok Secondary
School with all those other girls. But they do say it's a time to rejoice, nevertheless. I spoke to a senior member of Nigeria's military.
And he said pretty much the same thing, saying that we shouldn't necessarily focus just on whether these girls that are being rescued or
these women being rescued are from Chibok, but that every rescue is important and they're doing everything they can, in his words, to get human
beings out from under the capture of Boko Haram and their operations around the Sambisa Forest.
But at this stage it seems, from multiple sources, that this young girl, who has been freed, was not one of those Chibok girls-- Robyn.
CURNOW: And, David, also tell us about the girl who was allegedly freed or rescued or found yesterday. Tell us about her meeting with the president
MCKENZIE: Yes, it was a pretty extraordinary scene, Robyn, when Amina Ali met with President Muhammadu Buhari here in the state capital, Abuja, in
Nigeria's capital, at the presidential villa.
So in less than three days she went from this forest capture to the presidential villa. She seemed pretty overwhelmed, understandably, in
front of the press and in front of the president and --
MCKENZIE: -- several governors from across this part of Nigeria.
Amina Ali didn't say anything. Her young 4-month-old daughter, Sophia, was there. She seemed calm and there was much rejoicing, of course, amongst
politicians and across Nigeria that the first Chibok girl, as it were, has been released or rescued after more than two years.
And the good thing is, say activists, that she's been accepted by her family and her child. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HADIZ USMAN, ACTIVIST. BRING BACK OUR GIRLS: She's gone through a lot. She has been traumatized and what is important is the fact that she's being
accepted with her baby.
I was with her for hours today, with her mom and her mom has embraced the baby, her mom has carried the baby and it's an indication that the
community would accept that Amina is not looked at as somebody that should be seen as an outcast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: So many girls and women that have had children from Boko Haram fighters have, in fact, been ostracized from their communities, Robyn, when
they return .
And so it's good news, possibly because of all the exposure that Amina Ali is not within that group, that some 2,000 women and young girls have been
captured over the years by Boko Haram and the insurgency, far more than the 200-odd that are still missing from Chibok.
But there is a sense of optimism as the Nigerian military moves closer to their stronghold, into their stronghold of Sambisa Forest, that you could
see a trickle, potentially a flood of abductees coming out-- Robyn.
CURNOW: Well, let's talk about that and the circumstances of Amina's rescue.
What do we know about that?
MCKENZIE: Well, what we've heard from -- when I spoke to the governor of Borno State, he said she had been wandering for six days, trying to escape
Boko Haram with the man who called himself her husband. And that was a man who says he was abducted by Boko Haram to fight.
Now it's unfortunately often common practice that women and girls who are abducted by Boko Haram are given husbands; often those husbands rape those
girls and they have children by them.
The husband and Amina and their child were found in a very sorry state on the edges of Sambisa Forest by a vigilante group, vigilante committee that
patrols that region, according to them, and then handed over to the Nigerian military.
She's still here in Abuja, Amina Ali, her -- the person who she was with is being interrogated by the Nigerian military. But at least one politician
saying that he should be treated with kid gloves. I have to say many of the men who do leave or go away from Boko Haram, try to escape, are not
treated in that way certainly-- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK. David McKenzie in Abuja, thanks so much.
Coming up next, the U.S. presidential candidates voice strong opinions on the EgyptAir disaster and on each other's views on terrorism. That after
CURNOW: Search teams looking for Flight 804 have made a grim discovery: human remains and part of an airplane seat. They are combing parts of the
Mediterranean Sea for more remnants of the EgyptAir flight.
Of prime importance, the flight data and voice recorders; Egyptian authorities say they've located aircraft parts and passengers' personal
items off the coastal city of Alexandria.
U.S. officials say that for now they're assuming a bomb brought down the plane but so far no terror groups have claimed responsibility.
And the likely U.S. presidential nominees are weighing in on the EgyptAir crash and the larger issue of terrorism.
Speaking exclusively to CNN, Democrat Hillary Clinton leveled some of her strongest criticism to date at Donald Trump in the wake of that crash.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It does appear that it was an act of terrorism. Exactly how, of course, the
investigation will have to determine.
But it once again shines a very bright light on the threats that we face from organized terror groups. ISIS, of course; but then there are other
networks of terrorists that have to be hunted down and defeated.
When you run for President of the United States, the entire world is listening and watching.
So when you say we're going to bar all Muslims, you are sending a message to the Muslim world and you're also a message to the terrorists, because we
now do have evidence, we have seen how Donald Trump is being used to essentially be a recruiter for more people to join the cause of terrorism.
I know how hard this job is and I know that we need steadiness as well as strength and smarts in it. And I have concluded he is not qualified to be
President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, Donald Trump fired back at Clinton during a campaign stop in New Jersey, Trump highlighting what he says are the differences between
himself and Clinton when it comes to their views on Islamic extremism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So today we had a terrible tragedy and she came up and she said that Donald Trump talked about radical
Islamic terrorism, which she doesn't want to use, she used a different term, because she doesn't want to use that term. She refuses to use that
And I'm saying to myself and it's a terrible thing and he essentially shouldn't be running for office, he doesn't have the right to run for
And I'm saying to myself, what just happened about 12 hours ago?
A plane got blown out of the sky. And if anybody thinks it wasn't blown out of the sky, you're 100 percent wrong, folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Well, CNN Politics reporter, MJ Lee, joins us now from our New York bureau.
What do you make of all of that?
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clear that the general election really has begun. Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee and
Hillary Clinton on the other side of the aisle, even though she is still battling it out with Bernie Sanders, she made it clear yesterday in her
interview with our Chris Cuomo, saying that she believes she will be the nominee and the race is essentially over.
This is why we're hearing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump really going at each other. Both of their strategies are actually very similar. We've
heard each candidate saying about their rival that they do not believe, both Trump to Clinton and Clinton about Trump, that the other one is
qualified to be president.
And I think this is something that Clinton will really be zeroing in on, especially when it comes to matters of foreign policy. We heard her say
that world is really watching the Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee for president to see what they say and to see what sort of signals
they send to the rest of the world.
And she raised questions about Trump's previous comments about a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country and saying, what does this say about
what kind of commander in chief Trump wants to be?
I think, you know, how Trump responded to the news of EgyptAir and its disappearance, the fact that he tweeted so quickly that he thought it was
terrorism, that also raised some questions about his judgment and his willingness to sort of draw conclusions very quickly.
So this is a clash that we're really going to see intensify in the coming months.
CURNOW: And MJ, national security, as we know, is always an important issue within a presidential election and more so this time around.
LEE: Yes. Absolutely. And I think part of it is because of the climate and because of the terrorism attacks that we have seen, whether it's in
Paris or in our own country. So this is always an important issue. But especially in the 2016 --
LEE: -- campaign, this has been a very important issue all of the candidates have had to make very clear how they plan to fight ISIS and deal
The other reason that it has become such a prominent issue is, frankly, because of Donald Trump. He has made the issue of terrorism one of the key
pillars of his platform as he has run in the primary. He certainly will be making a big issue as he runs in the general election against Hillary
Clinton, pointing especially to her time as secretary of state, pointing out some of the controversies that have surrounded her time as secretary of
state, to make the case that he would actually be a better commander in chief.
When you speak to Trump's supporters and voters at his rallies, they will say they are very drawn to his sort of sheer strength, a message of
strength when he speaks about these issues, when he says that he would just bomb the heck out of ISIS. That's the kind of language that a lot of his
supporters are very attracted to.
CURNOW: But many critics say that's about it. I mean, there's not a lot of detail in terms of his rhetoric about what he would actually do and how
he would do it.
LEE: That's right. And that's a criticism he has received not only on the foreign policy front but many different policy fronts. His critics have
said that he lacks in detail and that his policy platforms are lacking in sort of specifics and answering the question, well, how would you
accomplish these goals.
I think that's also why we have seen him do things like release a list of potential judges that he would be willing to consider to nominate to the
Supreme Court. That's not something that a lot of presidential nominees actually do. They don't usually name specific names of potential nominees.
But the reason he did that, I think, is to show that he's thinking about these things and show that he's willing to sort of offer more specifics and
also show that he's willing to take in outside advice.
Some of the names that he has listed on that list were names that The Heritage Foundation, the conservative group, had recommended. So I think
he was trying to send a signal to conservatives, who may have questions about his credentials, that he's willing to work on these things and really
take in, rather, outside advice and become more specific in some of the things that he's proposing as he heads into November.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much for that, from New York, MJ Lee.
Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining me. Our continuing coverage of the
EgyptAir plane crash continues next with Becky Anderson, live from Cairo.