The development came after reports suggested smoke was detected in parts of the plane before it disappeared from radar and plummeted into the water early on Thursday.
Flight MS804 - carrying 56 passengers including one Briton and 10 crew members from Paris to Cairo - went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt's coastline, or around 175 miles offshore, after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Before it disappeared from radar screens around 2.45am Cairo time (12.45am GMT), the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude.
What caused the Airbus A320 to crash remains a mystery as authorities scramble to recover the aircraft's black boxes.
French air accident investigation agency spokesman Sebastien Barthe told the Associated Press (AP) that the plane's automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before it disappeared from radar.
The messages "generally mean the start of a fire", he said, but added: "We are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture."
Egypt's army spokesman said debris and passenger belongings have been located 180 miles off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt.
Airport officials in Egypt said investigators will inspect the debris and personal belongings that have been recovered.
Egyptian and Russian officials have said the plane may have been brought down by terrorists, and there are no signs of survivors.
Among the passengers was Briton Richard Osman, a 40-year-old father-of-two originally from Carmarthen in Wales, who was described by his younger brother Alastair as a workaholic and a very admirable person who "never deviated from the straight path".
The Airbus A320 was built in 2003 and was flying at 37,000ft, the airline said on Twitter.
It tweeted that the pilot had logged 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 hours on the A320, and the co-pilot had logged 2,766 hours.
The Egyptian military also released a video of the search operation, showing navy units recovering the items.
As the video pans over the debris, a shoe and a handbag can be seen among the remnants of the aircraft.