The hope that anyone would survive this crash may be completely diminished. This is very sad.
Hundreds of mourners gathered to offer prayers for the crew of missing EgyptAir flight MS804 today.
Family, friends and colleagues held back tears as the Imam led prays for their salvation at the Al Sedeq mosque close to Cairo International Airport.
The hour-long Friday prayers ended with pall bearers carrying a symbolic coffin for the missing bodies out of the sprawling mosque complex.
Outside family members told of their shock at the sudden disappearance of passenger jet. And colleagues praised the professionalism of the missing crew.
The father of co-pilot Mohamed Mamdouh Ahmed Asem was overwhelmed by messages of condolence.
Mohamed’s cousin, Hizam Asem told MailOnline: ‘Mohamed was a very, very good pilot. He was the best in his class. He was very skilful.
‘Ever since he was a little boy he had wanted to fly a plane. And finally he was realising his dream. He was just a young man of 27 but he was living the life he had always wanted.’
The co-pilot’s uncle Hisam Asem added: ‘Mohamed loved his job. He loved being a pilot. He introduced me to Captain Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair. He was a very nice man, a very good pilot.
Grief-stricken air-hostesss Rasha Al Saandy and Shereen Fouad hugged each other in support outside the mosque.
Rasha Al Saandy told MailOnline: ‘I knew Captain Shoukair and some of the crew. They were the best colleagues anyone could hope for.
‘I did not know the younger air hostesses Samar [Ezz Eldin] or Yara Hany because they had not been working on but [steward] Haietham Elzazizi was my best friend. He was so funny, he was always smiling and laughing.
‘Since I heard what happened I cannot sleep, I cannot sleep.’
Shereen Fouad added: ‘This is so terrible. I cannot imagine how this has happened.’
At another emotional service, the father of Captain Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair collapsed in grief for his missing son.
Distraught Bahgat Shoukair was unable to stand during the absent funeral service for his pilot son Mohamed following Friday prayers in his home city of Badrashin, south of Cairo.
Frail Mr Shoukair could only sit in a chair throughout the service at the Yusef mosque, being too weak to stand and knee as is customary in Muslim prayers.
However the father was able to shake hands with people who offered him their condolences for the loss of his son.
‘Bahgat Shoukair was distraught,’ one onlookers told Egyptian internet news service Video 7.
‘He could not stand up. He had to sit on a chair. He could only shake hands with people. After the prayer service his relatives carried him to his home.’
The service was held has search crews revealed they had found a severed arm, luggage and a two-mile-long oil slick in the Mediterranean.
The news will deal a devastating blow to families who are holding out a glimmer of hope their loved ones may have survived the crash.
The Egyptian military discovered wreckage around 180 miles north of the coastal city of Alexandria and are now sweeping the area for the plane’s black box recorders which could hold the key to the plane’s mysterious disappearance.
Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said a body part, two seats and suitcases were found in the search area, slightly to the south of where the aircraft had vanished from radar.
Greek journalist Liana Spyropoulou later said Mr Kammenos revealed the body part was an arm.
A two-mile oil slick has also been spotted 20 miles south-east of the plane’s last location by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A radar satellite.
Egyptian President Adbel Fattah al-Sisi, meanwhile, offered condolences to families of those on board, amounting to Cairo’s official confirmation of their deaths.
Although fingers pointed towards Islamist militants who blew up another airliner over Egypt just seven months ago, no group had claimed responsibility more than 24 hours after the disappearance of flight MS804, an Airbus A320 that was flying from Paris to Cairo.
Three French investigators and a technical expert from Airbus arrived in Cairo early on Friday to help investigate the fate of the missing plane, airport sources said.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said yesterday that it was too early to rule out any explanation for the disaster, but the country’s aviation minister said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical failure.
Friday’s announcement that debris had been found followed earlier confusion about whether wreckage had been located. Greek searchers found some material on Thursday, but the airline later said this was not from its plane.
While there was no official explanation of the cause of the crash, suspicion immediately fell on Islamist militants who have been fighting against Egypt’s government since Sisi toppled an elected Islamist leader in 2013.
In October, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for blowing up a Russian jetliner that exploded after taking off from an Egyptian tourist resort. Russian investigators blamed a bomb smuggled on board.
Last year’s crash already devastated Egypt’s tourist industry, one of the main sources of foreign exchange for a country of 80 million people, and another similar attack would crush hopes of it recovering.
While most governments were cautious about jumping to conclusions, U.S. Republican candidate for president Donald Trump tweeted swiftly after the plane’s disappearance: ‘Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant?’
Many hours later his likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton also said it appeared to be an act of terrorism, although she said an investigation would have to determine the details.
Officials from a number of U.S. agencies told Reuters that a U.S. review of satellite imagery so far had not produced any signs of an explosion.
They said the United States had not ruled out any possible causes for the crash, including mechanical failure, terrorism or a deliberate act by the pilot or crew.
Amid uncertainty about what brought down the plane, Los Angeles International Airport became the first major U.S. air transportation hub to say it was stepping up security measures.
In Britain, a spokesman for the David Cameron said Whitehall officials from different departments will be working throughout the day and into the weekend on the disaster and will update secretaries of state and the Prime Minister on all developments.
However, the Government is refusing to discuss security procedures until the cause of the crash is known.
The military has sent a vessel to follow the flight path of the plane and is heading south west towards where wreckage has reportedly been found.
The RAF sent a C130 plane which completed a surveillance flight last night and a second flight is ongoing.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch has also offered its assistance to the investigation and is ready to offer support if required.
Meanwhile, heartbreaking details are beginning to emerge of the lives cut short on board the doomed flight.
Air hostess Samar Ezz Eldin, 27, had uploaded a prophetic image of a plane crashing into the sea on her Facebook page in September 2014 just four months after she started working at Egypt’s national carrier.
It shows an air hostess dressed smartly in wet clothes pulling a carry-on suitcase out of the water as a passenger jet plunges into the sea behind her.
Other victims identified include the captain who celebrated a promotion just four days earlier, the co-pilot whose family sacrificed everything so he could learn to fly and a cabin manager who gave up a successful TV acting career to become an air hostess.
Captain Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair, 37, from Giza, had invited his colleagues and former flying school classmates to a huge dinner to celebrate his promotion to the rank of senior pilot, MailOnline can reveal.
Ahmed Adly, of the Egyptian Pilots Association, told MailOnline: ‘I can confirm that Mohamed Said Ali Ali Shoukair was the captain of the Egyptair MS804 that has been lost.’
Another friend Ahmed Mashaal said: ‘God bless you Shoukair. I last saw him four days ago at a party.
‘He invited his whole colleagues from EgyptAir and fellow students from the flying school to a huge dinner to celebrate his promotion four days ago [on Monday]. He was celebrating his promotion.’
Captain Shoukair was a very experienced pilot with 6275 flying hours, 2101 of those hours flying an Airbus 806. He was not married and did not have any children.
His co-pilot Mohammad Mamdouh Assem had dreamed of flying planes since he was five years old and his mother had put all her savings into helping him achieved his lifelong goal.
According to friends, co-pilot Mohammad Mamdouh Assem’s lifelong dream was to cruise the skies – with his mother spending all her savings on sending him to aviation school.
Childhood friend Omar Nasef told The Daily Beast: ‘He wanted to be a pilot since he was five. He was an unbelievable person, social.’
His mother tragically died a few years ago from cancer and the family was still struggling to cope with her loss when news broke that he had perished on the doomed flight.
‘His mom put all her savings towards his education,’ Nasef said. ‘The academy and all that, and it’s very expensive in Egypt. That was a big sacrifice.’
‘All that I know is that he loved flying. That was his dream job and that’s it,’ he said.
Cabin manager Mervat Zakaria was also revealed to be a former TV actress who had been promoted to her position just one month before the crash.
Ms Zakaria had joined the national airline carrier in 1986 after giving up a successful acting career.
She had starred as a troubled teenager, Hala Awad, who had lost her mother in the hit Egyptian drama Abu El Ela El-Bashery.
The show was named after the character of the widower who was bringing up his daughters on his own.
But Ms Zakaria, who is believed to be married with a daughter, quit before the second series to take up a career as an air hostess for EgyptAir.
Meanwhile, it emerged today that the wife of British passenger Richard Osman had warned him to be careful whenever he travelled abroad on his work, but he laughed off her fears, telling her: ‘It is never going to happen to me.’
The geologist had celebrated becoming a father for the second time with wife Aureilie, 36, just three weeks before the crash.
He had been flying regularly to Egypt with his job with Australian gold mining firm Centamin Ltd- often taking the plane from Paris to Cairo.
His brother Alastair said: ‘Aureilie had warned him to be careful but he took the view that it’s never going to happen to you. He just laughed it off.
‘We kept in touch regularly and I would speak to him a couple times a month but he never mentioned the possible threat of terrorism on his flights across the Mediterranean to me.
‘But the family was worried because ISIS and groups like them don’t think that any of their victims have family members or a past or a history of hopes and dreams.’