You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Search for crashed EgyptAir plane

Press AssociationPress Association 19/05/2016

A major search and rescue operation has been launched by Egyptian and Greek authorities to find the remains of a missing EgyptAir aircraft, with reports of a flash in the sky over the Mediterranean.

EgyptAir flight MS804 travelling from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board has crashed, Egyptian officials say.

Egyptian military search teams received a distress call from the emergency mechanisms of the missing flight at 4.26am (1226 AEST), almost two hours after it disappeared from radar, the airline says.

The plane disappeared from radar 16km inside Egyptian air space over the Mediterranean at 2.30am Cairo time (1030am AEST) after taking off just under three and a half hours earlier from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

EgyptAir said the 56 passengers included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, and one each from Britain, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The French government said President Francois Hollande spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi by telephone, and they agreed to "closely co-operate to establish the circumstances" in which the flight disappeared.

The written statement cited Mr Hollande as saying he shares the anxiety of families.

Flight MS804 left Charles De Gaulle Airport at 11.09pm local time.

The airline initially said there were 59 passengers on board but later said there were 56, including one child and two babies.

Three EgyptAir security personnel were also on board as well as seven cabin crew members.

Ahram, Egypt's state-run newspaper, quoted an airport official saying the pilot had not sent a distress signal before it disappeared. The last contact with the plane was 10 minutes before it vanished, he was quoted as saying.

But EgyptAir tweeted later that Egypt's armed forces had received a distress signal "from the plane's emergency devices".

The airline confirmed that it was flying over the Mediterranean Sea about 273km from the Egyptian coast when it disappeared.

It said it was hosting passengers' families near Cairo Airport and was providing doctors and translators.

The airline originally tweeted that the plane lost contact with radar at 2.45am Cairo time but later confirmed that it lost contact at 2.30am and was due to land at 3.15am.

The Airbus A320 was built in 2003 and was flying at 37,000 feet (11,278 metres), the airline said on Twitter.

The airline tweeted: "EGYPTAIR has contacted the concerned authorities and bodies and inspection is under way through the rescue teams."

Greek authorities have deployed two aircraft, a C-130 military plane and one early warning aircraft, the Hellenic National Defence General Staff said.

It also said a frigate was heading to the area and helicopters were on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.

Airbus's verified Twitter account said: "We are aware of media reports. At this time we have no further details, but we will provide further information when available."

Ahmed Adel, vice chairman of EgyptAir's parent company, told CNN the plane had "no snags" arriving in Paris or when it departed for Cairo.

He said there was no special cargo on the flight and no notification to the captain of any dangerous goods.

He added: "We did not confirm if there was a distress call. It just lost contact and we lost it on the radar of the air traffic controllers."

An emergency response room has been set up at the Integrated Operations Control Centre at Cairo Airport.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon