EgyptAir flight carrying 66 from Paris to Cairo disappears over the Mediterranean Sea
05/19/2016 / By newstarget / Comments
EgyptAir flight carrying 66 from Paris to Cairo disappears over the Mediterranean Sea

Of those on the plane, 56 were passengers, seven were crew members and three were security personnel. A Briton was among those on board.

(Article by BBC News, republished from //www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36333992)

Flight MS804 left Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris at 23:09 local time on Wednesday (21:09 GMT) and was scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital soon after 03:15 local time on Thursday.

EgyptAir said the plane had been flying at 37,000ft (11,300m) when it disappeared from radar shortly after entering Egyptian airspace.

Greek aviation officials say air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot when he entered Greek airspace and everything appeared normal.

They tried to contact him again at 02:27 Cairo time, as the plane was set to enter Egyptian airspace, but “despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond”. Two minutes later it vanished from radar.

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The relatives and friends of those on board the plane have been gathering at Cairo airport…

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… and at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Mr Kammenos said: “The picture we have at the moment on the accident as it emerges from the Greek air force operations centre is that the aircraft was approximately 10-15 miles inside the Egyptian FIR [flight information region] and at an altitude of 37,000 feet.

“It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet.”

French President Francois Hollande said he was keeping an open mind about the cause: “We will draw conclusions when we have the truth about what happened.

“Whether it was an accident, or whether it was – and it’s something that is on our minds – terrorism.”

AirPlane

Far too early to say: By Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent

An Egyptian aircraft disappearing without a mayday is bound to raise the spectre of terrorism. But the truth is it is far too early to say why this plane vanished.

Whatever happened, it happened too quickly for the crew to raise the alarm.

Initially, the aircraft seemed to drop off the radar at 37,000 feet, suggesting a sudden break-up. It is very rare for modern planes to simply break apart in mid-air. That meant an explosion was a real possibility.

But then the Greek defence minister described the aircraft making sharp turns and dropping height quickly, which suggests it was intact for longer.

Even in the worst emergencies, pilots tell me they should have time to call for help, once they have got to grips with the problem. But not always.

Some of the relatives of those on board gathered at airports in Cairo and Paris to wait for news.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who met some of the relatives at a crisis centre in Paris Charles de Gaulle called it a “moment of intense emotion” for them.

Flightradar24 listed details of the plane’s journey on Wednesday which showed it had flown from Asmara, in Eritrea, to Cairo, then on to Tunis, in Tunisia, before heading, via Cairo, to Paris.

Aviation analyst Alex Macheras told the BBC that Airbus A320s were regularly used for short-haul budget flights and had “an amazing safety record”.

In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus. The attacker later surrendered and all hostages were released.

Read more at: //www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36333992

 

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