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EgyptAir plane carrying 66 people crashes off Greek island: 10 developments

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board crashed crashed off the Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace, a Greek airport source told AFP.

world Updated: May 19, 2016 14:00 IST
EgyptAir plane crash,Paris-Cairo flight,Egypt’s civil aviation ministry
Airport security staff stand near the EgyptAir counter at Charles de Gaulle Airport outside of Paris, France, Thursday.(AP Photo)

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board crashed crashed off the Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace, Airbus confirmed on Thursday.

“Airbus regrets to confirm that an A320 operated by Egyptair was lost at around 02:30 am (Egypt local time) today over the Mediterranean sea. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight MS 804 from Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt,” the company said in a statement.

Here are 10 developments about the incident:

1) EgyptAir Flight 804 was lost from radar at 2.45am local time when it was flying at 37,000 feet, the airline said. It said the Airbus A320 had vanished 16km after it entered Egyptian airspace, around 280km off the country’s coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

2) EgyptAir said the cause of the disappearance of its Paris-Cairo flight over the Mediterranean on 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.

3) Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said it was too early to confirm if the passenger plane had crashed.

4) European travel and leisure stocks fell and underperformed a weaker, broader market on Thursday after EgyptAir said a plane carrying more than 60 passengers and crew had gone missing. The sector was also hit after holiday company Thomas Cook reported a 5 percent drop in its summer bookings.

5) Egypt’s state news agency quoted 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. The spokesperson of the Egyptian army said the army did not received any distress call.

6) EgyptAir said passengers on Flight 804 included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, and one each from Algeria, Britain, Belgium, Canada, Chad, Kuwait, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

7) Egyptian military aircraft and navy ships were taking part in a search operation off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast to locate the debris of the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew members. France is offering to send military planes and boats to help search for the EgyptAir flight.

8) 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.

9) The Airbus A320 is a widely used twin-engine, single-aisle plane that operates on short and medium-haul routes. Nearly 4,000 A320s are currently in use around the world. The versions EgyptAir operates are equipped to carry 145 passengers.

10) The ubiquity of the A320 means the plane has been involved in several accidents over the years. The last deadly crash involving the plane was Germanwings Flight 9525, in which all 150 onboard died when one of the pilots intentionally crashed it in the French Alps.

First Published: May 19, 2016 13:40 IST