French President Francois Hollande confirmed this afternoon that EgyptAir flight MS804 has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

Air traffic controllers had also reportedly tried to make contact with the pilot 16km (10 miles) before the aircraft exited Greek airspace, but the pilot had not responded. The aircraft vanished from their radars shortly after entering Egyptian airspace. The Greek defence ministry is investigating the report of a merchant ship captain who claimed to have seen a “flame in the sky” some 130 nautical miles (240 kilometres) south of the island of Karpathos.

EgyptAir said there were 56 passengers, including one child and two infants, and 10 crew members on board. They comprised 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Belgian, one Algerian and one Canadian.

Egypt’s state-run al-Ahram newspaper cited sources as identifying the pilot as Captain Mohamed Shokeir. EgyptAir said he had 6,275 hours of flying experience, including 2,101 hours on the A320, while the first officer had 2,766 hours.

The Egyptian Civil Aviation ministry confirmed that search and rescue teams have been deployed to look for the missing aircraft. Search efforts are being carried out in coordination with Greek authorities. Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian Civil Aviation Agency, has stated that the aircraft most likely crashed into the sea. Greece sent a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, an EMB-145-H early warning aircraft and a frigate to the area to participate in search and rescue efforts. France is also sending ships and aircraft to assist with the search and rescue operation.

Egypt’s prime minister said it was too early to say whether the disappearance was the result of a major technical failure or a terrorist attack.

“We cannot rule anything out, that can only be ascertained when the plane is located and the cockpit voice and data recorders, commonly known as the black boxes, are recovered.”

UPDATE 13:43 BST

The Egyptian Minister for Civil Aviation has stated that he believes that it is “more likely” that MS804 was downed by a terrorist attack than due to a technical fault. An EgyptAir flight has already been the subject of a terrorist attack this year when a flight to Cairo was hijacked and landed in Larnaca, Cyprus.

UPDATE 13:51 BST

 Reuters report that Greek vessels participating in the SAR effort have sighted debris within the vicinity of where it is believed the aircraft came down. These reports have been confirmed by Greek state TV.

UPDATE 13:59 BST

Pictures have emerged from an unknown source purporting to show the debris found by the search vessel Maersk Ahram. Courtesy of PPRuNe

UPDATE 14:49 BST

A Greek military spokesperson has confirmed the finding of wreckage as being spotted by an Egyptian AF C-130 and that ships were enroute to further investigate the findings. Vassilis Beletsiotis speaking to AFP said:

“There have been finds southeast of Crete, inside the Cairo flight information area”

Additionally, RFA Lyme Bay is sailing to assist in SAR and recovery efforts in the area.

UPDATE 14:59 BST

HMS Defender is now assisting in the SAR operation

 

1 COMMENT

  1. One thing that seems to be overlooked from the ACARs feed was the dropout of the SEC! the end is nigh!

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