In March, an EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus by an “unstable” man who demanded to see his ex-wife.
EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Cairo, has disappeared from radar with 66 people on board.
What we know so far
• There were 66 people on board the flight.
• Aviation officials say the “possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed.”
• A Greek aviation source told AFP that the plane crashed 130 miles from the Greek island of Karpathos. This has not been confirmed.
• No New Zealand citizens were listed on the flight manifest.
• The Airbus A320 was travelling from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar at around 02:45 Cairo time (12.45pm NZ time).
• It was some 16km inside Egyptian air space when it went missing, and was about half an hour from landing.
• The last contact with the plane showed it was over the Mediterranean, to the south of the area between the islands of Crete and Cyprus.
• Nationalities of the 56 passengers on board included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.
• A signal was picked up from the plane two hours after it disappeared from radar, thought to have been an emergency beacon.
• Weather conditions were fine in the area.
• The captain reportedly had 6,000+ flying hours.
• Egyptian military confirms search underway involving aircraft and naval vessels.
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people disappeared from radar early Thursday morning, the airline 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 16 kilometers after it entered Egyptian airspace.
Egyptian armed forces were searching for the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew.
The pilot had 6,000 flight hours. Earlier, the airline said 69 people were on board.
EgyptAir later confirmed the nationalities of those on board as including 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.
It did not identify the official.Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted an airport official as saying that the pilot did not send a distress call, and that the last contact with the plane was 10 minutes before it disappeared from radar.
Airbus is aware of the disappearance, but “we have no official information at this stage of the certitude of an accident,” the company’s spokesman Jacques Rocca said.The Paris airport authority and the French civil aviation authority would not immediately comment.
Around 15 family members of passengers on board the missing flight have arrived at Cairo airport.
Egyptians gather outside the arrivals section of Cairo International Airport, Egypt. Photo / AP
Airport authorities brought doctors to the scene after several distressed family members collapsed.
Reporters gathered in front of the small, empty EgyptAir counter at Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle Airport. Airport staff said EgyptAir staff were on their way.
’s Foreign Ministry nor Interior Ministry would comment on the disappearance or on whether it could have been an attack.France
remains under a state of emergency after Islamic extremist attacks killed 130 people in November.
The Islamic State group continues to threaten France.
The plane most likely crashed into the sea, Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian civil aviation authority, said according to a report by SkyNews Arabia.
However, Raslan later told the Associated Press that it was too early to tell if the plane had crashed, and denied speaking to SkyNews Arabia.
Greece joined the search and rescue operation for the EgyptAir flight with two aircraft: one C-130 and one early warning aircraft, officials at the Hellenic National Defense General Staff said.
They said one frigate was also heading to the area, and helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.
An EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus in March.
A man who admitted to the hijacking and is described by Cypriot authorities as “psychologically unstable” is in custody in Cyprus.
The incident renewed security concerns months after a Russian passenger plane was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula.
The Russian plane crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for planting it.
In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 1990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard, U.S. investigators filed a final report that concluded its co-pilot switched off the autopilot and pointed the Boeing 767 downward. But Egyptian officials rejected the notion of suicide altogether, insisting some mechanical reason caused the crash.
• EgyptAir Airbus A320 en route from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Cairo disappeared from radar with 66 people on board
• There were no immediate signs of survivors.
• Contact was lost around 16km inside Egyptian airspace at 2.30am local time (00.30 GMT)
• EgyptAir confirmed finding the wreckage near Karpathos Island in the south eastern Aegean Sea
• No New Zealand citizens were listed on the flight manifest
• Egypt authorities believe it may have been a terrorist attack
The wreckage of an EgyptAir jetliner bound from Paris to Cairo which crashed with 66 people aboard in the Mediterranean Sea early Friday morning NZ Time has been found.
EgyptAir confirmed finding the wreckage near Karpathos Island in the south eastern Aegean Sea about 5am NZ time (7pm on May 20 in Egypt).
“EgyptAir resource stated that the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation has just received an official letter from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declaring the finding of wreckage of the missing aircraft No.
“EgyptAir sincerely conveys its deepest sorrow to the families and friends of the passengers on board Flight MS804.MS 804 near Karpathos Island,” it said in a press release.
“Family members of passengers and crew have been already informed and we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected.
“Meanwhile, the Egyptian Investigation Team in co-operation with the Greek counterpart are still searching for other remains of the missing plane.”
Egypt authorities believe it may have been a terrorist attack.
There were no immediate signs of survivors.
EgyptAir Flight 804, an Airbus A320 with 56 passengers and 10 crew members, went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport, authorities said.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing from radar screens around 2:45 a.m. Egyptian time.
He said it made a 90-degree left turn, then a full 360-degree turn toward the right, plummeting from 38,000 to 15,000 feet. It disappeared at about 10,000 feet, he said.
Relatives of passengers on a vanished EgyptAir flight grieve as they leave the in-flight service building where they were held at Cairo International Airport. Photo / AP
An Egyptian search plane later located two orange items believed to be from the aircraft, 230 miles southeast of Crete, a Greek military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations.
In Cairo, Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi cautioned that the disaster was still under investigation, but he said the possibility it was a terror attack “is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.”
Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russia’s top domestic security agency, said: “In all likelihood it was a terror attack.”
The Egyptian military said it did not receive a distress call, and Egypt’s state-run daily Al-Ahram quoted an unidentified airport official as saying the pilot did not send one. The absence of a distress call suggests that whatever sent the aircraft plummeting into the sea was sudden and brief.
The plane’s erratic course suggested a number of possibilities, including some kind of catastrophic mechanical or structural failure – whether accidental or the result of sabotage – or a struggle over the controls with a hijacker in the cockpit.
Egyptian security officials said they were running background checks on the passengers to see if any had links to extremists.
The disaster also raises questions about security at De Gaulle Airport, at a time when Western Europe
is on edge over the deadly Islamic extremist attacks in Paris and at the Brussels airport and subway over the past six months.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that airport security had been toughened considerably before the disaster, in particular because of the coming European soccer championship, which France is hosting.
Last October, a Russian passenger plane that took off from an Egyptian Red Sea resort crashed in the Sinai, killing all 224 people aboard. Russia said it was brought down by a bomb, and a local branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff, an expert on aerospace systems at the University of Notre Dame, said that while it is too early to tell for certain, a structural failure aboard the plane is “vanishingly improbable.”
He also cast doubt on the possibility of a struggle in the cockpit, saying the crew would have triggered an alarm.
Instead, he said, “sabotage is possible, and if there were lax controls at airports and loose hiring and security policies, increasingly likely.”
A relative of the victims of the EgyptAir flight 804 reacts as she makes a phone call at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Photo / AP
Those on board, according to EgyptAir, included 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Belgian, one Algerian and one Canadian.
Egyptian military aircraft and ships searched for debris and victims from the plane, whose passengers included two babies and a child, officials said. Greek, French and British authorities joined the operation.
Whatever caused the crash, the disaster is likely to deepen Egypt’s woes as the country struggles to revive its ailing economy, particularly the lucrative tourism sector that has been battered by the turmoil in which the country has been mired since a 2011 popular uprising.
The crash also renewed security concerns surrounding Egyptian planes and airports. A Russian passenger plane crashed in the Sinai last October, killing all 224 people aboard. Moscow said the aircraft was brought down by a bomb, and a local branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
French President Francois Hollande held an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace. He also spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi by telephone and agreed to “closely cooperate to establish as soon as possible the circumstances” surrounding the disaster, according to a statement.
In Cairo, el-Sissi convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, the country’s highest security body. It includes the defense, foreign and interior ministers, in addition to the chiefs of the intelligence agencies.
In Paris, the city prosecutor’s office opened an investigation. “No hypothesis is favored or ruled out at this stage,” it said in a statement.
About 15 relatives of passengers arrived at the Cairo airport, and authorities brought doctors to the scene after several distressed family members collapsed.
In Paris, relatives started arriving at De Gaulle Airport outside the French capital.
A man and a woman, identified by airport staff as relatives of passengers, sat at an information desk near the EgyptAir counter. The woman sobbed, holding her face in a handkerchief. The pair were led away by police.
The Airbus A320 is a widely used twin-engine plane that operates on short and medium-haul routes. Nearly 4,000 A320s are in use around the world.
The last deadly crash involving one of the planes was in March 2015, when one of the pilots of a Germanwings flight deliberately slammed it into the French Alps, killing all 150 people aboard.
Airbus said the aircraft in Thursday’s disaster was delivered to EgyptAir in 2003 and had logged 48,000 flight hours. The pilot had more than 6,000 hours of flying time, authorities said.
In March, an EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus. A man described by authorities as mentally unstable was taken into custody.
Two babies among passengers
The passengers also included two Iraqis and one citizen from each of Algeria, Belgium, Chad, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, as well as 30 Egyptians, the airline said. They included a boy and two babies.
Seven crew members and three security men were also on board.
EgyptAir said the plane had been manufactured in 2003. Airbus said it had clocked up 48,000 flight hours.
EgyptAir hit the headlines in March when a flight from the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the hijacker, who was described as “unstable”, demanded to see his ex-wife.
He had claimed he was wearing an explosive vest, which turned out to be fake.
Haitham El Azizi has been identified as one of the crew of Egyptair Flight MS804. Photo / Facebook
Last October, foreign governments issued travel warnings for Egypt and demanded a review of security at its airports after the Islamic State group downed the Russian airliner with what it said was a bomb concealed in a soda can that had been smuggled into the hold.
The disappearance of the EgyptAir jet comes more than two years after the start of one of the most enduring mysteries in aviation history.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board, mostly Chinese and Malaysians.
Authorities believe the Boeing 777 detoured to the remote southern Indian Ocean and then plunged into the water.
EgyptAir says passengers on Flight MS804 included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, and one each from Algeria, Britain, Belgium, Canada, Chad, Kuwait, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
There were no immediate signs of survivors.
Here are some of the passengers who were aboard the flight:
British victim named as doctor’s son Richard Osman
The only Briton on board the EgyptAir flight is believed to have been as a geologist who had just become a father for the second time.
Welsh-born Richard Osman, 40, was said to have been “deliriously happy” at the birth of his daughter Olympe.
Described by his family as a “workaholic”, Mr Osman’s job for a gold mining company regularly took him to Cairo and other international destinations.Born at the end of April, she was Mr Osman’s second child with his 36-year-old French-born wife Aurelie. The family lived together in Jersey.
His brother Alastair Osman, a biochemistry student at Swansea University said: “Richard was so happy at the birth of his second daughter, and yet two weeks later he is no longer with us – it’s an absolute tragedy.
“He was really happy about having the baby and was looking forward to enjoying a lovely family life with his two girls.”
He added: “Of all the family I would’ve thought Richard would have been the last to go.
“He was incredibly fit and a workaholic and since leaving university he has never stopped.”
His children were said to be with their mother and her parents in Paris, where the couple have a home.
Ahmed Helal, an employee for Procter & Gamble Co.
Procter & Gamble Co. says one of its employees was aboard the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
The consumer products maker identified him as Ahmed Helal, manager of its plant in Amiens, France. He had held a variety of manager positions since joining P&G in his native Egypt in 2000. His LinkedIn profile says he earned a mechanical engineering degree from The American University in Cairo in 1999.
P&G spokesman Damon Jones says “we are in touch with the employee’s family and are offering them our full support during this difficult time.”
The Cincinnati-based company makes products such as Tide detergent and Pampers diapers.
Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry has identified a Kuwaiti feared dead in the EgyptAir plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea.
A ministry statement carried Thursday afternoon by the state-run Kuwait News
Agency named the missing passenger as Abdulmohsen al-Muteiri. It offered no other details about al-Muteiri.
The statement quoted Sami al-Hamad, an assistant foreign minister for consular affairs, as saying Kuwait had been in touch with Egyptian authorities over the crash.
The EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board crashed Thursday morning in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Crete. Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has said it is too early to say whether a technical problem or a terror attack caused the Airbus A320 to crash.Video
Muhammed Allamine, a student at a French military school
Among passengers on missing EgyptAir Flight 804 was a student training at a French military school who was heading to his family home in Chad to mourn his mother.
The protocol officer for Chad’s embassy in Paris, Muhammed Allamine, said the man “was going to give condolences to his family.” Allamine said the man, who wasn’t identified, was a student at France’s prestigious Saint-Cyr army academy.
Another passenger on the flight was an Egyptian man returning home after medical treatment in France, according to two shocked friends who turned up at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
“It breaks my heart,” said one friend, Madji Samaan.
Passengers arriving for the 3:45 p.m. EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo faced heavy gray curtains drawn over the departure hall and journalists waiting outside. Most of those interviewed stayed stoic, saying it didn’t make sense to cancel their plane trip out of fear – even if many acknowledged being a little rattled.
Three Egyptian security officers
France’s transport chief says there were three Egyptian security officers on the EgyptAir flight that disappeared after leaving Paris for Cairo.
Alain Vidalies told reporters Thursday after an emergency government meeting that the plane had seven crew members and three Egyptian security officers, “which is the usual practice.”
He said the plane was not carrying freight.
The duputy to the Egyptian ambassador in Paris’ sister-in-law and a Saudi woman who works at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo
Egyptian airport officials have identified two more victims from the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean.
They say that the sister-in-law of Hisham el-Maqawad, the deputy to the Egyptian ambassador in Paris, and Sahar al-Khawaga, a Saudi woman who works at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo, are among the victims of Thursday’s plane crash.
They say that al-Khawaga, who has worked at the diplomatic mission in the Egyptian capital for 13 years, was in Paris to follow up on her daughter’s medical treatment there.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.
The hunt is on for EgyptAir Flight MS804, which disappeared from radar today.
The airline confirmed in a tweet that the plane had vanished after departing from Paris at 11.09pm (CEST) on its way to Cairo. There were 59 passengers and 10 crew members on board the Airbus A320.
While we await news on what happened to the aircraft, here’s what you need to know about EgyptAir.
• It’s the flag carrier airline of Egypt with a long history in the sky, having launched 83 years ago as Misr Airlines.
• Its logo is inspired by Horus, a deity in ancient Egyptian mythology known as “the winged god of the sun”. EgyptAir’s logo depicts Horus with the head of a falcon and the body of a man.
• Independent airline review website AirlineRatings.com has given EgyptAir and EgyptAirExpress a safety rating of 5/7. A total of 148 airlines have a seven-star rating, while 50 were rated three-stars or less, including ten that were given just one star. TigerAir was given four stars.
• It had been struggling to recover since the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. According to the country’s civil aviation ministry, EgyptAir lost around $AU203 million over the 2012-13 financial year, largely due to skyrocketing fuel prices, the devaluation of the Egyptian currency and ongoing strikes. In all, EgyptAir has suffered total losses of close to $1 billion since the 2011 uprising.
• On October 31, 1999 EgyptAir Flight 990 from Los Angeles to Cairo crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, killing all 217 people on-board. It had only been flying for about half an hour. Egyptian and American authorities never agreed on the cause of the crash. The Egyptians found it was due to a mechanical malfunction but the Americans stated it was the responsibility of the relief first officer.
• The airline made international headlines in March when a man hijacked EgyptAir Flight 181 and forced its diversion to Cyprus. Seif Eldin Mustafa wore an “explosive belt” which was later found to be a fake, surrendering approximately five hours later.
• Officials said early on that the hijacking was not an act of terrorism, and later that the man appeared to be psychologically unstable.
• A photo taken by smiling passenger Ben Innes with the hijacker went viral.
• A Germanwings flight that was deliberately piloted into a mountain near Barcelonnette, France, on March 24, 2015 (150 deaths).
• An AirAsia flight that crashed into the Java Sea avoiding inclement weather on December 28, 2014 (162 deaths).
• A US Airways flight that was forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson river in New York after suffering engine failure on January 15, 2009.
EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 59 passengers and 10 crew disappeared from radar today, the airline said.
The Airbus A320 most likely crashed into the sea, Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian civil aviation agency, told SkyNews Arabia.
He said the plane was about to enter Egyptian airspace when it disappeared from radar.
The airline, however, said it had vanished 16 kilometers after it entered Egyptian airspace.
On October 31 last year, Metrojet flight 9268 bound for St Petersburg exploded over the northern Sinai, 23 minutes after take off from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh airport.
On March 24 last year Germanwings Flight 9525, with 144 passengers and six crew onboard, began descending one minute after the last routine contact with air traffic control.According to an investigation, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane into the Alps. He had been treated for depression in the past.
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.
A Dutch civil investigation concluded that the Boeing 777 was downed by a Soviet-designed Buk surface-to-air missile. Russian-backed rebels have been blamed for the incident.
This week NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes handed down his findings into the crash, describing it as “gross mass murder” deliberately perpetrated by “a person or persons not yet known”.
On May 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing about one hour into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, while it was flying over the South China Sea. The Boeing 777 was carrying 12 Mayalsian crew and 227 passengers, including six Australians.
Its disapperance sparked a multinational search effort and its fate has remained a mystery. Last week, Australian authorities said pieces of debris washed up in South Africa and Mauritius were “almost certainly” from MH370.
Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people onboard.
It took nearly two years to find the plane’s black boxes, and an investigation uncovered recorder information reaveling one of the pilots shouted “F**k, we’re dead” as the plane went down.
AirAsia flight QZ8501 was flying between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore when it disappeared from radar on December 28, 2014. The plane had crashed into the Java Sea during bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew onboard.
On August 25 in 1989 Pakistan International Airlines Flight 404, which had 54 passengers and crew on board, disappeared after taking off from Gilgit, Pakistan.
It’s thought the aircraft may have crashed in the Himalayas, but no wreckage has ever been found.