An EgyptAir flight heading from Paris to Cairo that disappeared from radar with 69 people on board has been reportedly crashed. Greek and Egypt have launched a massive search and rescue operation
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew crashed in the Mediterranean sea early Thursday morning, according to a Greek airport source.
According to a list provided by EgyptAir, the 56 passengers on the plane included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis and one passenger each from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Portugal, Algeria, Canada and Kuwait.
EgyptAir Flight 804 was flying at 37,000 feet when it lost contact above the Mediterranean Sea, the airline tweeted. Although investigators are still trying to figure out what happened, French President Francois Hollande said the plane had “crashed,” but gave no more details on what could have brought the plane down.
Aviation officials in Egypt and Europe said there was nothing immediately pointing to why the plane lost contact with radar tracking about 45 minutes before its scheduled landing in Cairo.
“No hypothesis is favored or ruled out at this stage,” said the French statement.
“We cannot rule anything out,” Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told reporters at Cairo airport.
Egypt’s state-run newspaper al-Ahram quoted an EgyptAir statement as saying the Egyptian army’s rescue and search had received a distress call from the plane at 04:26 local time – which would be around two hours after the flight disappeared.
Egypt and Greece are taking part in the search and rescue operation. Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutors office also opened an investigation into the disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804.
Massive search & rescue operation launched after EgyptAir flight disappears
Greek authorities have mounted a search in the area south of the island of Karpathos without result so far. The Greek army said it had deployed two aircraft, a frigate and two helicopters to the search and rescue operation 130 nautical miles south-southeast of the Greek island of Karpathos.
The Greek defence ministry has said EgyptAir Flight 804 was flying at 37,000 feet in Egyptian airspace when it made sudden swerves. Greece has also requested assistance on satellite information.
“At 3:39am the course of the aircraft was south and south-east of Kassos and Karpathos (islands)… immediately after it entered Cairo (airspace) and made swerves… 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right,” Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said.
Relatives of the passenger gathered in Cairo and Paris airports, seeking word on their loved ones. They were ferried to special centers at both airports, where translators and psychiatric support awaited.