EgyptAir flight MS804 'has crashed'

By Per aspera ad Astra (Own work) (CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

A commercial plane travelling from France to Egypt has disappeared enroute.

As of 4.47pm (AEST) Egyptian aviation officials confirmed to AP that EgyptAir flight MS804 has crashed however no more information is available at this stage, nor has any wreckage been discovered.

The EgyptAir flight MS804, departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST), heading to Cairo, has vanished from the radar.

Ahmed Adel, the airline’s vice-president, told CNN that there are 56 passengers, including two infants, and 10 crew members on board.

The airline says the plane sent a distress message shortly before its disappeared on radar. The message was received by military monitors at 4:26am (local time), some 80 minutes after the plane was due to land.

It’s currently unclear with whether they were referring to a distress signal before the crash or an automated signal afterwards.

Greek civil aviation authorities last heard from the pilot as the plane passed over the island of Kea and say no problems were mentioned.

Egyptair Flight MS804 was scheduled to land in Cairo at 3.05am local time. It is currently 6.48 am (2.48pm AEST).

The airline has reported that the plane was at a height of 37.000ft when it faded from the radar after entering the Egyptian airspace with 10 miles.

Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry says the plane most likely crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

EgyptAir reports that the Egyptian armed forces have paid a number of aircraft and naval units to boost search efforts for the plane.

Reuters Australia and New Zealand bureau chief, Jane Wardell reports that people near the area saw a ball of fire fall from the sky.

It has contacted the concerned authorities and bodies and inspection is underway through the rescue teams.

It was initially reported that no distress call from the plane was made, however the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry says its military unit received a distress signal at 4:26am (local time) — more than an hour after the plane’s scheduled landing time, and almost two hours after it disappeared from the radar.

There were no reports of bad weather.

The pilot of the plane has 6275 hours in flying time experience, including 2101 hours on the same model, and the co-pilot has 2766 hours. journalist Chris Dollesin says the plane is one of the newest in the company’s fleet.

The airline has confirmed that it was made in 2003.

EgyptAir says it will have update as more information becomes available.

It has offered toll-free numbers for passengers’ relatives as follow: 080077770000 from any landline in Egypt and +202 25989320 from any mobile phone or from outside Egypt.

The French president and his Egyptian counterpart have spoken about the missing flight, and say no hypothesis can be excluded on the causes of the disappearance.

The Australian department of foreign affairs says, “The Australian Embassies in Cairo and Paris are making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine whether any Australians are on board the missing Egypt Air flight, MS 804.”

The airline has released the nationalities of those aboard MS804. There were 30 people from Egypt, 15 from France, two from Iraq, and one each from Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada.

In March an Egyptian man hijacked an EgyptAir A320 with 63 people on board and forced it to land in Cyprus. The hostage drama ended peacefully after several hours and was not terrorism related.

As of 4.30pm (AEST) the EgyptAir website displayed this.

Earlier in the day, following news of the plane’s disappearance, it looked like this.

And it has blanked out the cover photo on it’s Facebook page.

The flag carrier airline of Egypt, which is based at Cairo International Airport, was established in June 1932.

It’s commercial and freight flights service more than 75 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

More to come.

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