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UPDATE 2 - EgyptAir plane from Paris to Cairo ‘disappears’

UPDATE 2 - EgyptAir plane from Paris to Cairo ‘disappears’
Egyptian army says aircraft and naval vessels have been dispatched to area where plane went missing

*UPDATES WITH DETAILS.

CAIRO (AA) – An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board went missing over the eastern Mediterranean Thursday morning after it entered Egyptian airspace, the airline said.

In a series of posts made on its official Twitter account, EgyptAir said its flight MS804, which included 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel, lost contact with its radar system in the early morning hours.

"EGYPTAIR A320 was at a height of 37,000 ft [feet], and disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace with 10 miles," it tweeted.

According to the airline, there were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one British, one Belgian, one Portuguese, one Algerian, one Chadian, one Canadian, one Sudanese, one Kuwaiti and one Saudi aboard the plane.

Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi refused to confirm that the plane crashed, saying instead that the aircraft remains “missing” until the debris is found.

Addressing a press conference in Cairo, Fathi said Egyptian authorities will not rule out the possibility that either a terror act or a technical mishap was behind the incident.

He insisted that it is too early to speak about the causes of the plane's disappearance until search efforts are completed.

The Egyptian army said that aircraft and naval vessels have been dispatched to the area where the plane disappeared.

-Crash-

French President Francois Hollande said information shows that the Egyptian plane had crashed.

“Unfortunately the information we have ... confirms to us that the plane came down and is lost,” Hollande said. “No hypothesis can be ruled out, nor can any be favored over another.”

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority said the air tower controllers had tried to contact the plane before it moved into Egyptian airspace, but received no reply.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the missing plane made “sudden swerves” as it flew at 37,000 feet.

He said data shows the stricken plane made a 90 degree left-hand turn then spiraled 360 degrees to the right as it dropped 22,000 feet.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told RTL channel that his country was in close contact with Egyptian civilian and military officials.

"Egypt sent exploration planes to the area. France is ready to provide every kind of assistance to Egypt," Valls said.

In October 2015, a passenger plane went down as it left Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people aboard, mostly Russian tourists. A Daesh affiliate had claimed responsibility for the incident.

While Russia said the plane was brought down by a bomb, Egyptian authorities insisted that the investigation into the October accident was still going on.

In February, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi admitted that the plane was brought down by terrorists seeking to damage the country’s tourism industry and relations with Russia.

In March, an Egyptian national briefly hijacked an EgyptAir plane and forced it to land in Cyprus.

source: News Feed
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