Update: Greek frigate reportedly discovers possible EgyptAir plane debris. Rescuers are trying to locate an EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight that disappeared off radar screens over the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people aboard just minutes before it was expected to land. There are no known security issues with any of the passengers of the missing flight, the Egyptian aviation minister said during the press conference, adding that further checks are underway. According to the minister, the missing plane is more likely to have been brought down by a terrorist attack than a technical failure.
Cairo: EgyptAir flight MS804 heading from Paris to Cairo has disappeared from radar with 63 people on board. The Airbus A320 left the French capital’s Charles De Gaulle Airport at 11:09pm local time on Wednesday night and then went missing, three hours and 40 minutes into its journey.
The plane vanished 10 minutes into Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean Sea, 20 minutes before it was due to land. It was supposed touch down at 3:05am local time. There were 56 passengers, including two infants and a child, and 10 crew on the flight.
The airline tweeted: ‘An informed source at EGYPTAIR stated that Flight no MS804,which departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST),heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar.’
They added that the plane disappeared 10 miles into Egyptian airspace at 37,000ft. The airline said it was fading when air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 02:45 Cairo time.
Egyptian officials have already sent out search and rescue teams. Ahmed Abdel, the vice-chairman of EgyptAir holding company, told CNN that no distress signal had been sent, as far as he knew.
He added that there had been no reported problems with the plane when it left Paris. The captain of the plane, Abdel said, had more than 6,000 flying hours. This includes 2,000 on an A320. He also said there was no special cargo on board and the airline was not informed about any dangerous objects on board.
As the plane was in Egyptian airspace, their air traffic controllers should have been in contact with the flight team. However it does not necessarily mean the plane was over land at the time, as Egyptian air space stretches over the Mediterranean Sea.
According to flight schedules, it was the plane’s fifth flight of the day. Shortly after news of the disappearance broke, the Egyptair website crashed. The Airbus A320 is a short-to-mid range aircraft is one of the most commonly used in the world that first entered circulation in 1986.
It has a capacity of 150 passengers and a range of more than 3,000 miles. An EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus in March. A man who admitted to the hijacking and is described by Cypriot authorities as ‘psychologically unstable’ is in custody in Cyprus.
The incident renewed security concerns months after a Russian passenger plane was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula. The Russian plane crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for planting it.
In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 1990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard, U.S. investigators filed a final report that concluded its co-pilot switched off the autopilot and pointed the Boeing 767 downward.
But Egyptian officials rejected the notion of suicide altogether, insisting some mechanical reason caused the crash.