- An EgyptAir flight travelling from Paris to Cairo is feared to have crashed in the Mediterranean Sea
- The passenger plane was carrying 66 people onboard including two babies and a child
- Egyptian authorities have not ruled out any possibilities including hijack and terrorism
An EgyptAir Airbus A320 travelling from Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt went missing early morning Thursday, May 19, and is believed to have crashed in the Mediterranean Sea.
Flight MS804 departed from Paris at 11:09 pm (local time) Wednesday with 66 people onboard including 56 passengers and 10 crew members. The airline management said it lost contact with the plane at 2:30 am (local time) around 16 kilometers (10 miles) inside Egyptian airspace while travelling at an altitude of 37,000 feet.
Egyptian authorities told Reuters the plane is believed to have crashed into the Mediterranean waters between Egypt and Greece. A signal – believed to have come from the aircraft’s local transmitter – was received at 4:26 am (local time), or roughly two hours before the last communication.
Among the passengers onboard are 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 2 Iraqis, and one citizen each from the UK, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada, including two babies and one child.
An Egyptian aviation official confirmed to Reuters that the flight had crashed following a preliminary search and after it did not arrive at its destination at the expected time.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said a search operation is ongoing near the area where the plane is believed to have gone down, and that it is too early to rule out any possibilities including hijack and terrorism.
“We cannot exclude anything at this time or confirm anything. All the search operations must be concluded so we can know the cause,” Ismail said in a statement.
The Greek Merchant Navy has also reported of a ‘flame in the sky’ in the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea; fanning speculations that a bomb may have exploded inside the cabin.
“There’s a strong possibility of an explosion on board from a bomb or a suicide bomber,” said former BEA chief of investigation unit, Jean-Paul Troadec. “The idea of a technical accident when weather conditions were good, seems almost possible but not that likely.”
The Airbus A320 was on its fifth journey for the day before the incident having traveled from Asmara to Cairo, then Cairo to Tunis and back. It then flew to Paris from Cairo before it disappeared while on its return trip.
The aircraft was manufactured in 2003. The airline management disclosed the captain had clocked 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 with the A320, The first officer, on the other hand, had accumulated 2,766 flying hours.