Local News

Search continues for missing Egypt Air flight

An Egypt Air flight from Paris to Cairo has disappeared, carrying 66 people on board. French officials say they "are not ruling out any hypothesis".

Greek sources say the debris found in the Mediterranean Sea is not from the EgyptAir flight that went missing between Paris and Cairo yesterday, according to reports.

The airline’s official Twitter account sent out a tweet saying flight MS804 disappeared from radar just 10 minuted away from landing on Thursday, around 12.40pm NZT. The plane made “sudden swerves” before dropping off radar over the Mediterranean, Greek defense minister Panos Kammeno said.

Flightradar24, a global flight-tracking service, showed the plane’s signal disappeared somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea. French and Greek aircraft, one US navy plane, eight merchant ships and a number of Egyptian vessels have joined the search for debris.

There are conflicting reports over the debris recovered so far. Ehab, Badawy, Egypt’s ambassador to France, told the nation’s BFM television: “All I will say is that our embassy in Athens told us that it was contacted by Greek authorities, who signalled that they found white and blue debris corresponding to EgyptAir’s colours.”

But Greek sources have told Reuters the material they had found so far was not blue and white.

There are reportedly 56 passengers onboard, including two infants and one child, as well as 10 staff. Among the passengers were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, and one each from the UK, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada.

Ahmed Abdel, the vice-chairman of EgyptAir has told CNN there was no distress call from the plane, which was reportedly flying in fine weather conditions.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a press conference that his government was being “extremely prudent” about possible causes and trying to gather all the information.

“We are not ruling out any hypothesis,” he said.

Egypt’s aviation minister Sherif Fathy said terrorism was more likely than technical failure to be the cause of the crash. “The possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem],” he told reporters.

Recent regional tensions and incidents have caused many to speculate foul play is a factor.

In November 2015 a Russian Metrojet Airbus A321 crashed in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheik just minutes after departing Egpyt for St Petersburg, killing all 224 passengers.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

Related stories

Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.