Missing EgyptAir Flight MS804: Here’s What We Know So Far
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 56 passengers has disappeared from radar, the Egyptian airline says.
The Airbus A320 was flying at 37,000ft (11,300m) when it went missing over the eastern Mediterranean. An official said the plane lost contact at 2:45am Cairo time (12:45am GMT), the BBC reports.
Seven crew members and three security personnel were also on board Flight MS804.
A Civil Aviation Ministry statement said the ‘possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed’, hours after Flight MS804 was due to land in Cairo, according to The Independent. A search for debris is underway.
The Airbus A320 was about three hours and 40 minutes into the four-hour journey when it lost contact with radar.
The airline said the plane had been 10 miles into Egyptian airspace, over the Mediterranean Sea, when it disappeared.
The aircraft had left Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport at 11:09pm local time on Wednesday (9:09 GMT) and was scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital soon after 3:00am local time on Thursday.
However, Egyptian civil aviation authority spokesman Ihab Raslan told Sky News Arabia that it was about to enter Egyptian airspace when it disappeared, stating the plane had most likely crashed into the sea.
France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “no theory can be ruled out on the cause of this disappearance”.
EgyptAir says search and rescue teams have since been deployed, with Greece joining teams from the Egyptian armed forces in the search for the jet.
The airline said the passengers on board included 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, one Briton, one Canadian, as well as people from Belgium, Algeria, Sudan, Chad and Portugal.
There were three children on board.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras told the BBC that Airbus A320s are regularly used for short-haul flights and have ‘an amazing safety record’.
Earlier an airport official, as quoted by Egypt’s state-run newspaper al-Ahram, said the plane last had contact 10 minutes before it disappeared, but no distress signal had been sent before losing contact.
But EgyptAir tweeted that the plane’s emergency devices, possibly an emergency locator transmitter or beacon, sent a distress signal that was received at 4.26am – about two hours after the last confirmed radar contact.
Now, Egypt’s military said in a statement no such signal was received, BBC reports.
A defence ministry source said authorities were also investigating an account from the captain of a merchant ship who reported a ‘flame in the sky’ about 130 nautical miles south of the island of Karpathos, The Telegraph reports.
The cause of the disappearance is not yet known.
More information to follow.