Published On: Thu, May 19th, 2016

EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo missing

Egypt's national carrier reports that one of its planes disappeared from radar minutes after entering Egyptian airspace; Rescue crews are searching for the wreckage; 66 were on board

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An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people disappeared from radar early Thursday morning, the airline said.

The plane most likely crashed into the sea, Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian civil aviation authority, told SkyNews Arabia.

He said the plane was about to enter Egyptian airspace when it disappeared from radar. The airline, however, said the Airbus A320 had vanished 10 miles after it entered Egyptian airspace at the border of the flight information region (FIR) between Athens and Egypt, around 30-40 miles north of the Egyptian coast.

Flight number MS804 had 56 passengers onboard including 1 child and 2 infants in addition to 3 EGYPTAIR security personnel and 7 cabin crew with a total of 66 persons onboard. Noteworthy that the aircraft pilot has 6275 of flying hours including 2101 flying hours on Airbus 320. As for the co-pilot he has 2766 flying hours. The manufacturing date of the aircraft in 2003. Special teams from the Egyptian Armed Forces were are at site located for inspection and rescue.

The airplain was lost from radar at 2:45AM local time when it was flying at 37, 000 feet, the airline said.

Meanwhile, EgyptAir has opened up a crisis center, and is hosting the passengers’ families near to Cairo Airport and is providing doctors, translators and other services to the passengers’ family members.

With its ancient archeological sites and Red Sea resorts, Egypt is a popular destination for Western tourists. But the industry was badly hit following the downing of a Russian jet last year, the ongoing Islamist insurgency and a string of bomb attacks in the country.

An Airbus A321 operated by Russia’s Metrojet crashed in the Sinai on Oct. 31, 2015, killing all 224 people on board. Russia and Western governments have said the plane was likely brought down by a bomb, and the Islamic State militant group said it had smuggled an explosive device on board.

Reuters reported in January that an EgyptAir mechanic, whose cousin joined Islamic State in Syria, is suspected of planting the bomb, according to sources familiar with the matter.

In March, an EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus by a man with what authorities said was a fake suicide belt. He was arrested after giving himself up.

EgyptAir has a fleet of 57 Airbus and Boeing jets, including 15 of the Airbus A320 family of aircraft, according to airfleets.com.

The last fatal incident involving an EgyptAir aircraft was in May 2002, when a Boeing 737 crashed into a hill while on approach to Tunis-Carthage International Airport, killing 14 people.

In October 1999, the first officer of a Boeing 767 deliberately crashed the plane into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island,  Massachusetts, killing all 217 people on board.

Associated Press, Reuters, Ynet News contributed to this report

 

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