EgyptAir flight tragedy: As it happened

EgyptAir flight tragedy: As it happened
An Egyptian military search boat takes part in a search operation for the EgyptAir plane that disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea in this still image taken from video May 19, 2016. Egyptian Military/Handout via Reuters TV

Cairo - The latest news on EgyptAir Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo, carrying 66 people, which disappeared early Thursday.

By Web Report

Published: Fri 20 May 2016, 7:17 AM

Last updated: Sat 21 May 2016, 2:34 AM

An EgyptAir flight from Paris with 66 people on board vanished from radar screens on Thursday with a Greek aviation source saying it had crashed into the Mediterranean between the Greek islands and the Egyptian coast.
There were no immediate reports of the discovery of any debris but both Egypt and Greece said they had dispatched aircraft and naval vessels to the area on a search and rescue mission.
Twenty-six foreigners were among the 56 passengers, including 15 French citizens, a Briton and a Canadian, EgyptAir said.
Relatives of EgyptAir flight #MS804 passengers seeking more information can call +202-2598-9320 from outside Egypt
In Pictures: EgyptAir plane crash

* Flight MS804 missing soon after entering Egyptian airspace
* Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers, 10 crew
* Officials believe it crashed into the sea
* Too early to rule out any cause, including terrorism- Egypt premier
* Aboard flight were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 10 other nationalities


Floating items, including life jackets, found near suspected site of EgyptAir plane crash: Egypt Civil Aviation. (AP)
8.00pm UAE leaders condole EgyptAir tragedy
President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister, and Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces sent message of condolences to Egyptian and French presidents.
Briton on board missing plane named
The British citizen feared missing on EgyptAir flight MS804 has been named locally as Richard Osman, reports The Independent.
Kuwait names passenger feared dead
Kuwait's Foreign Ministry has named the Kuwaiti who was among 56 passengers and 10 crew on board missing EgyptAir flight MS804.
A ministry statement carried on Thursday afternoon by the state-run Kuwait News Agency named the missing passenger as Abdulmohsen al-Muteiri, but offered no further details.
Egyptian president chairs national security council meeting

Khaleej Times newsroom brings you the latest updates so far

Footage has emerged claiming to show the possible debris floating in the Mediterranean Sea.
Donald Trump responds to EgyptAir crash calling the incident 'yet another terrorist attack'

Possible terror attack, says Egypt's civil aviation minister
Egypt's civil aviation minister has said he believes the EgyptAir crash was more likely to have been caused by a terror attack than technical failure.
"If you analyse the situation properly, the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical (problem)," Sherif Fathy told a news conference.
He did not provide any further information and added that he did not want to draw conclusions.
Fathy said he was not concerned about systemic problems within Egyptian aviation when questioned by journalists, and would not comment on the report of "flames" seen from a merchant ship.
Multiple reports of objects being found in the Mediterranean Sea
Greek officials say searches in the Mediterranean Sea have located two orange items believed to be from the EgyptAir plane.
The items have been found floating around 50 miles south-east of the point where the plane was last detected on radar in the early hours of this morning. There was no confirmation of what the items were. There are two flight recorders, or black boxes, on each flight. They are bright orange in colour and are designed to jettison away from crash sites and float. They are also equipped with location beacons.
"There have been finds south-east of Crete, inside the Cairo flight information area," Greek army general staff spokesman Vassilis Beletsiotis told Agence France-Presse.
4:35  pm
Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi said Egypt-Greek search for debris of crashed EgyptAir plane off Greek island of Karpathos is expanding. 
Fathi told reporters in Cairo that the diameter of the search area will widen, moving further south of the island. 
Meanwhile, Egypt's chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek says he has ordered an "urgent investigation" into crash of EgyptAir plane. Sadek instructed the National Security Prosecutor to open an "extensive investigation" in the incident.
4:30 pm
Search teams have yet to find debris from the EgyptAir aircraft that vanished over Egyptian airspace en route to Cairo from Paris early Thursday morning, Egypt's aviation minister told a news conference. 
Search efforts were focused near the Greek island of Karpathos as well as the vicinity just south of it, but the search is "flexible," he said.
4:15 pm
Egypt's aviation minister said he could not rule out that an attack or a technical failure brought down an EgyptAir flight over the Mediterranean, and no wreckage had been found. 
"I don't deny the hypothesis of a terrorist attack or something technical. It is too early," Sherif Fathy told a news conference. I have no information that wreckage has been found for now."  - Sherif Fathy, Aviation Minister 
Egyptian officials: It would be premature to rule out any hypotheses over
4:10 pm
Egypt's general prosecutor on Thursday ordered a state security investigation into the disappearance of the EgyptAir aircraft that vanished over Egyptian airspace en route to Cairo from Paris, judicial sources said. 
Egypt's civil aviation minister told a news conference it was too early to rule out either terrorism or a technical failure as the reason behind the plane's disappearance.
3:50 pm
Daesh militants are gearing up for a "campaign of terrorist attacks" in France that are likely to see explosive devices placed around areas with large crowds, the head of France's DGSI internal intelligence agency has warned.
The rare remarks by Patrick Calvar to the parliament's defence committee came ahead of the Euro 2016 soccer championship in France and six months after militants killed 130 people in coordinated assaults on cafes, bars, a football stadium and a music hall across Paris.
3:45 pm
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is weighing in on the crash of an EgyptAir flight that had been traveling from Paris to Cairo, calling it "yet another terrorist attack." 
In a Twitter post Thursday, Trump pointed to the incident, asking "when will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!" 
The flight, with 66 passengers and crew on board, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Crete early Thursday morning.
3:00 pm
Passengers are preparing to board an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo, hours after an earlier EgyptAir flight on the same route disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea.
Salama Kordeya, a 66-year-old business traveler, shrugged off journalists asking him whether he was comfortable stepping on to the flight.
He tells journalists: "Thousands of car accidents ... and we use cars. I'm not afraid."
Authorities have set up a special crisis center at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport for families of passengers of the missing plane.
2:50 pm
Greece's Civil Aviation Authority says traffic controllers' last communication with the EgyptAir pilot found him in good spirits. Greek air traffic controllers lost contact as the flight headed into the Egyptian area of responsibility.
The Civil Aviation Authority says the flight entered the Greek air traffic control area, or FIR, at 02:24 Greek time (2324 GMT), was identified and approved on its flight course and passed into the next section of air traffic control and was approved by the controller for the exit point of the Greek FIR.
Air traffic controllers tried to contact the pilot again at 03:27 local time for the handover of the plane to Cairo's area of responsibility, but "despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond."
Air traffic control then called on the emergency frequency and again there was no response. At 03:29, the aircraft was over the exit point of the Athens FIR, and at 03:29.40 it vanished from radar. The Greek authority said the military was asked for help in case the plane could be located on a military radar, but there was no sign of it. Search and rescue operations began at
2:35 pm
French President Francois Hollande has confirmed the crash of the EgyptAir flight, and says no hypothesis is ruled out or preferred, including an accident or a terrorist act.
Hollande says: "When we have the truth we need to draw all the conclusions."
Speaking at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Hollande adds: "At this stage, we must give priority to solidarity toward the families" of the victims.
2:00 pm
French official says 'nothing is confirmed'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says "nothing is confirmed" regarding the disappearance of the EgyptAir flight and is warning against some unverified information in circulation.
Ayrault, speaking after meeting with families gathered at a hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport, tells journalists the priority is "solidarity" with them and extended a "message of compassion and support."
He says French authorities are in direct contact with Greek and Egyptian authorities.

Image: PR Week/ Twitter
Airbus: missing plane logged 48,000 flight hours
Airbus says the missing Egyptian plane flight was delivered to EgyptAir in 2003 and had logged 48,000 flight hours.
The European plane-maker said in a statement Thursday that the plane had engines made by Swiss-based engine consortium IAE, and had the serial number 2088.
Airbus said it is ready to help authorities investigating the disappearance and said "our concerns go out to all those affected."
Greece: EgyptAir pilot reported no problems
The director of Greece's Civil Aviation Authority says air traffic controllers were in contact with the pilot of the EgyptAir flight as it passed through Greek airspace.
The director, Constantine Lyzerakos, said the plane was at 37,000 feet, traveling at 519 mph, and did not report any problem.
Lyzerakos told private Antenna television that controllers tried to make contact with the pilot 10 miles before the flight exited the Greek Flight Information Range (FIR), but the pilot did not respond. Lyzerakos says controllers continued trying to contact the pilot until 3:39 a.m. Greek time (1239 GMT) when the plane disappeared from the radar.
Lyzerakos says the plane was in Cairo's FIR when it vanished.
11:46 am
EgyptAir plane crashed off Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace: Greek airport source
An EgyptAir flight which disappeared from radar screens en route from Paris to Cairo early Thursday, crashed into the sea off the southern Greek island of Karpathos while in Egyptian airspace, a Greece aviation source told AFP.
"At around 0029 GMT (3:29 am) when it was in Egyptian airspace, the plane disappeared from Greek radars... it crashed around 130 nautical miles off the island of Karpathos," the source told AFP.
Egypt's PM says no cause ruled out for crash
Egypt's state news agency quotes Prime Minister Sherif Ismail as saying he can't "rule out" any possibility when asked whether a terrorist attack is behind the missing plane. He said there was no "distress call" but there was a "signal" received from the plane.
Cause of flight's disappearance still unknown:EgyptAir
EgyptAir said the cause of the disappearance of its Paris-Cairo flight over the Mediterranean on Thursday was still unclear as search teams scoured the waters off the Egyptian coast.
"The cause of the airplane's disappearance is not yet known," the airline said in a statement.
11:25 am
France offers military help in EgyptAir search
France is offering to send military planes and boats to help search for an EgyptAir flight that disappeared en route from Paris to Cairo.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the government is in constant contact with Egyptian authorities since the plane's disappearance early Thursday
He said: "We are at the disposition of the Egyptian authorities with our military capacities, with our planes, our boats to help in the search for this plane."
He spoke after French President Francois Hollande held an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace.
Ayrault confirmed 15 French people were on the flight. "We imagine the anguish of the families."
Relatives of passengers on a vanished EgyptAir flight have started arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, where their loved ones boarded the aircraft.
A man and a woman, identified by airport staff as relatives of the flight's passengers, sat at an information desk near the EgyptAir counter Thursday at the airport's Terminal 1. The woman was sobbing, holding her face in a handkerchief.
The two were led away by police and airport staff and did not speak to journalists.
The French government is setting up a crisis center for relatives at the airport.
Aviation officials: EgyptAir plane carrying 66 has crashed
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning, Egyptian aviation officials said.
EgyptAir Flight 804 was lost from radar at 2:45 a.m. local time when it was flying at 37,000 feet, the airline said. It said the Airbus A320 had vanished 10 miles (16 kilometers) after it entered Egyptian airspace, around 280km (175 miles) off the country's coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

The aviation officials later said the plane crashed and that a search for debris was now underway. The "possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed," as the plane hasn't landed in any of the nearby airports, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The official said a signal had been picked up from the plane two hours after it disappeared from radar, thought to have been an emergency beacon
Egyptian military aircraft and navy ships were taking part in a search operation off Egypt's Mediterranean coast to locate the plane. The plane was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew members. The pilot had 6,000 flight hours.
EgyptAir later said those on board included 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Belgian, one Algerian and one Canadian.
Egypt's state-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted an airport official as saying the pilot did not send a distress call, and that last contact with the plane was made 10 minutes before it disappeared from radar. It did not identify the official.
EgyptAir plane sent distress message before vanishing: airline
A missing EgyptAir flight sent a distress message before vanishing from radar screens on Thursday that was detected by the military, the airline said in a statement.
The message was received at 0226 GMT, less than 10 minutes before the flight disappeared, an EgyptAir official told AFP.
French PM says 'no theory can be ruled out' on missing EgyptAir flight
 France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday "no theory can be ruled out" in the missing EgyptAir flight which disappeared en route to Cairo from Paris.
"No theory can be ruled out on the cause of this disappearance," said Valls, speaking after the plane vanished from radar over the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.

French President Francois Hollande and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have "agreed to cooperate closely" to establish the circumstances of the disappearance as soon as possible, Paris said.
The Egyptian military said it had deployed search aircraft and naval vessels to scour the Mediterranean for signs of the missing Airbus A320.
An EgyptAir official said the search was focused on an area of sea north of the Egyptian coast, without providing a precise location.
Egyptian officials believe missing EgyptAir plane crashed into sea
An EgyptAir plane missing with 66 people on board probably crashed into the sea, officials from the airline and the Egyptian civil aviation said on Thursday.
The Airbus A320 aircraft flying from Paris to Cairo went missing on Thursday, disappearing from radar over the Mediterranean Sea, EgyptAir said earlier.
Egypt's state newspaper Ahram reported that there had been no distress call from the plane and that the last contact with the pilot was about 10 minutes before the aircraft disappeared.
8: 20am
The maker of the EgyptAir plane that has gone missing on a flight from Paris to Cairo says it's unclear what happened.
Airbus spokesman Jacques Rocca says Thursday the company is aware of the disappearance but "we have no official information at this stage of the certitude of an accident."
The A320 is one of the most widely used Airbus planes, a single-aisle plane that usually seats about 150 people and is used for short- and medium-range flights around the world. Nearly 4,000 are in operation, according the company's website.
Greece is participating in the search and rescue operation for the missing EgyptAir flight with two aircraft. Helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.
The Hellenic National Defense General Staff said one frigate is also heading to the area where the plane disappeared and is about 100 nautical miles or 4 hours away at this time.
8:00 am
Egypt air is following the situation closely with the competent authorities through the integrated operations centre.The company also provides free contact numbers for parents: 080077770000 from any landline in Egypt and + 202 25989320 outside Egypt or any mobile in Egypt.The aircraft commander flying hours are 6275 hours including 2101 hours on the same model and the Copilot is 2766 hours.
7:30 am
EGYPTAIR has contacted the concerned authorities and bodies and inspection is underway through the rescue teams.
An EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked in March and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the "unstable" hijacker demanded to see his ex-wife.
He surrendered after a six-hour airport standoff, which ended peacefully.

6:55 am
"An official source at EgyptAir stated that Flight no MS804, which departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST), heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar," the airline said on its Twitter account.
CNN said the plane was carrying 59 passengers and 10 crew. A later Tweet by EgyptAir said the plane, which was travelling at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,280 metres), disappeared about 80 miles (130 km) before it was due to enter Egyptian airspace.

A relative of the victims of the EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed, reacts as she makes a phone call at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris.
A relative of the victims of the EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed, reacts as she makes a phone call at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris.

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