1st images of EgyptAir wreckage released, reports of smoke onboard confirmed (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Smoke was reportedly detected on board the EgyptAir plane before it crashed in the southern Mediterranean, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency told the media. The Egyptian army, in the meantime, released the first photos of the plane wreckage.

LIVE UPDATES: EgyptAir flight crashes in Mediterranean

The information about the smoke on the plane was confirmed by an official from France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for civil aviation safety.

"The BEA confirms that there have been ACARS [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] messages sent by the plane indicating that there was smoke shortly before the data transmissions broke," a spokesperson told AFP.

"These messages do not allow in any way to say what may have caused smoke or fire on board the aircraft," the agency also told Reuters.

READ MORE: Egyptian Navy finds human remains, passenger belongings & debris from plane crash

The ACARS messages “generally mean the start of a fire,” BEA spokesman Sebastien Barthe told AP.

“The focus of the investigation is to find wreckage and flight recorders,” the agency added.

Early reports on the smoke were released by the Aviation Herald website which reports daily about incidents and critical situations in civil aviation companies. According to the outlet, the smoke was detected in the lavatory.

1st images of plane wreckage released by Egyptian army

The Egyptian army has released pictures on Facebook of the wreckage of Flights MS804 and passengers’ belongings found in the southern Mediterranean.

The blue panel of the plane, with “EgyptAir” markings, is clearly visible in the pictures, as well as the yellow life jackets.

EgyptAir Flight MS804 took off from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport late at night on Wednesday with 66 passengers and crew aboard, bound for Cairo, and disappeared from radar early on Thursday in Egypt's airspace.

A third day of search efforts is going on in the Mediterranean. The operation involves the Egyptian, French, Greek and US navies, mostly covering the southern part of the Mediterranean as a possible crash area.

On Friday, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said that the Egyptian search mission found human remains and belongings of the passengers, hours after the first debris were spotted 290km north of Alexandria, Egypt.

Later the Egyptian military said it had identified a search area to recover EgyptAir Arbus A320's flight recorders, Al Ahram newspaper reported. "The area is three to four nautical miles (5.6-7.4km) away from the crash site," a source close to the investigation told the newspaper.

The location where wreckage from the plane will be brought to for investigation has not been agreed, Egypt’s Aviation Ministry said at a briefing Saturday.

The ministry said that special equipment is on its way to locate black boxes, adding that these boxes may be at a depth of around 3,000 meters.

Egyptian authorities and the airline urged people to refrain from drawing premature conclusions. However, several aviation experts and intelligence services worldwide said they believed a terror attack was more likely than a technical failure.