The mishap came less than two months after another EgyptAir flight bound for Cairo was hijacked by an Egyptian man and diverted to Cyprus in a bizarre episode.
EGYPT – An EgyptAir flight has disappeared from radar enroute from Paris to Cairo on Thursday (May 19), apparently without sending out a distress call or showing other signs of trouble.
Flight MS804, with 66 people on board, disappeared from radar at 2:45am Cairo time (8:45am Singapore time), 20 minutes before it was due to land at 3:05am, EgyptAir tweeted on Thursday morning, some three hours after the the plane went missing over the Mediterranean.
The plane was at 37,000 ft and disappeared about 130km and 10 minutes after entering Egyptian airspace, the state-owned airline tweeted. Flightradar24 says the plane’s last known position was above the Mediterranean Sea.
“They did not radio for help or lose altitude. They just vanished,” Ehab Mohy el-Deen, the head of Egypt’s air navigation authority, was quoted by the New York Times as saying.
Mr Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian civil aviation agency, told SkyNews Arabia that the Airbus A320 most likely crashed into the sea, the Associated Press reported.
He said the plane was about to enter Egyptian airspace when it disappeared from radar, contradicting the airline’s version of the facts.
The Egyptian and Greek militaries deployed search aircraft and naval vessels to locate the plane, reports said, citing the Egyptian army and Greece’s defence minister.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, whose country has come under multiple terrorist attacks in recent years, said “nothing can be ruled out”.
The company initially said 59 passengers and 10 crew – including three security personnel were on board the plane, an Airbus A320. But it later revised the passenger figure to 56, including one child and two babies.
It also gave the nationalities of the passengers: 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 2 Iraqis, with the rest coming from Britain, Belgium, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.
Ahmed Abdel, the vice-chairman of EgyptAir’s holding company, told CNN there was no distress call from the plane. Neither was there any “recorded snags” from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport or from Cairo, he said.