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Australian-British dual national on EgyptAir flight

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An Australian-British dual national aboard the missing EgyptAir jetliner was a kind and loving father who had just welcomed a new baby.

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Richard Osman worked as a geologist in the Australian goldmines before returning to Europe a number of years ago.

His younger brother Alastair said the 40-year-old father of two, who hailed from Wales, was admired for his strength and values.

“Richard was a very kind person, loving person, very focused. He was a workaholic and never deviated from the straight path,” Alastair Osman told ITV News.

He said his brother had texted him to tell him he was an uncle for a second time on April 27.

“He’s a new dad. A dad for the second time now and I know that would have filled him with love and joy,” he said.

“It’s funny how quickly things change.”

Australia is closely working with UK authorities who are providing consular assistance to Osman’s family.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement on Friday.

Osman said his brother was on board the EgyptAir flight MS804, which left Paris on Wednesday night, for work.

“He’s been doing this for years in the gold mining industry. This was a regular trip. He used to do it at least once a month, year after year.”

There were 56 passengers and 10 crew on the plane when it vanished about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline.

Egyptian and Russian officials say it may have been brought down by terrorists, and there are no signs of survivors.

EgyptAir says the wreckage of its missing plane had not been found, despite earlier announcing debris had been located in the Mediterranean Sea.

“We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane. So the search and rescue is still going on,” EgyptAir vice chairman Ahmed Adel told CNN.

The airline had earlier released a statement saying the plane’s wreckage had been found near the Greek island of Karpathos.

The confusion was compounded when the Egyptian civil aviation ministry said Greek authorities had on Thursday found “floating material” and life jackets likely to be from the plane.

“All I will say is that our embassy in Athens told us that it was contacted by Greek authorities, who signalled that they found white and blue debris corresponding to EgyptAir’s colours,” Egyptian ambassador to France Ehab Badawy told France’s BFM television.

Greek defence sources told Reuters they had found pieces of plastic and two lifevests in the sea 370 km south of the island of Crete, but sources said the material they had found so far was not blue and white.

EgyptAir Flight 804, an Airbus A320 with 56 passengers and 10 crew members, went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline, or around 280 kilometres offshore, after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Egyptian and Russian officials have said it may have been brought down by terrorists.

Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing from radar screens around 2.45am Cairo time on Thursday.

He said it made a 90-degree left turn, then a full 360-degree turn to the right, plummeting from 38,000 to 15,000 feet.
It disappeared at about 10,000 feet, he said. There were no reports of stormy weather at the time.

Egyptian and Greek authorities in ships and planes have searched the suspected crash area throughout the day for traces of the airliner or its victims, with more help on the way from the US, Britain and France.

Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi cautioned that the disaster was still under investigation but said the possibility it was a terror attack “is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.”

Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russia’s top domestic security agency, went further, saying: “In all likelihood it was a terror attack.”
There was no immediate claim from militants that they had downed the plane.

A US review of satellite imagery so far has not produced any signs of an explosion aboard the EgyptAir flight that crashed en route from Paris to Cairo, officials from multiple US agencies have told Reuters.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the conclusion was the result of a preliminary examination of imagery on Thursday and cautioned against media reports suggesting the United States believed a bomb was responsible for the crash.

The United States has not ruled out any possible causes for the crash, including mechanical failure, terrorism or a deliberate act by the pilot or crew, they said.

If it was terrorism, it would be the second deadly attack involving Egypt’s aviation industry in seven months.

Last October, a Russian passenger plane that took off from an Egyptian Red Sea resort crashed in the Sinai, killing all 224 people aboard. Russia said it was brought down by a bomb, and a local branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

AP/AAP

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