An EgyptAir plane missing with 66 people on board almost certainly crashed into the sea, officials from the airline and the Egyptian civil aviation said earlier today.
The Airbus (AIR.PA) A320 aircraft flying from Paris to Cairo went missing on Thursday, disappearing from radar over the Mediterranean Sea, EgyptAir said earlier.
A tweet on the airline’s official account said flight MS804 left Paris at 23:09 pm local time, “heading to Cairo (and) has disappeared from radar”.
The Airbus 320 disappeared from Egyptian air space almost two hours earlier, at 02:30 am, some 280 kms from the Egyptian coastline, according to EgyptAir. It had been due to land at 03:15 a.m. No further details were provided as to the nature of the distress signal.
Greek air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot over the island of Kea, in what was thought to be the last broadcast from the aircraft. “The pilot did not mention any problems,” Kostas Litzerakis, head of Greece’s civil aviation department told Reuters. It exited Greek airspace at 3.27 am local time and entered Cairo airspace. Two minutes later it vanished from Greek radars, Litzerakis said.
Further tweets in Arabic said contact was lost at 02:45 Cairo time, when the plane was just inside Egyptian airspace and at an altitude of 37,000 feet.
There were 59 passengers and 10 crew aboard, according to the airline.
“EGYPTAIR has contacted the concerned authorities and bodies and inspection is underway through the rescue teams,” another tweet in English said.
An EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked in March and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the “unstable” hijacker demanded to see his ex-wife.
He surrendered after a six-hour airport standoff, which ended peacefully.
In October, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.
The disappearance of the jet on Thursday comes more than two years after the start of one of the most enduring mysteries in aviation history.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew onboard, mostly Chinese and Malaysians.
Authorities believe the Boeing 777 detoured to the remote southern Indian Ocean and then plunged into the water.
The costly, painstaking search for a crash site has yet to yield results, but five pieces of debris have been identified as either definitely or probably from the jet, all found thousands of kilometres from the search zone, likely swept there by ocean currents.
Theories to explain the disappearance include a possible mechanical or structural failure, a hijacking or terror plot, or rogue pilot action.
30 Egyptians, 15 French among passengers on vanished flight: EgyptAir
The flight was carrying 30 Egyptian and 15 French passengers, as well as a Briton and a Canadian, the airline said.
An Algerian, a Belgian, a Chadian, two Iraqis, a Kuwaiti, a Portuguese, a Saudi and a Sudanese were also on board the flight, EgyptAir said in a statement.
French PM says ‘no theory can be ruled out’ on missing EgyptAir flight
France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday “no theory can be ruled out” in the missing EgyptAir flight.
“No theory can be ruled out on the cause of this disappearance,” said Valls, speaking after the plane vanished from radar over the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.