Thursday, May 19, 2016

 EgyptAir Plane Likely Crashed, Search Still Underway
Ahram Online
Thursday 19 May 2016

A joint search by the Egyptian army and Greek ships is underway for 56 passengers and 10 crew members on-board an Airbus 320 which went off radar 10 minutes into Egyptian airspace en route to Cairo from Paris

12.10According to AP, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says "nothing is confirmed" regarding the disappearance of the EgyptAir flight and is warning against some unverified information in circulation.

Ayrault, speaking after meeting with families gathered at a hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport, tells journalists the priority is "solidarity" with them and extended a "message of compassion and support."

He says French authorities are in direct contact with Greek and Egyptian authorities.

11.20Egypt's army said it is taking all the necessary procedures to find the missing plane by dispatching a number of rescue and search jets along with navy vessels specialised in rescue and relief operations.

A high alert has been imposed in military hospitals and the army is currently in coordination with the cabinet and the foreign and civil aviation ministers to provide the needed support.

The army spokesman said the search for the disappeared plane is taking place where the plane reportedly went missing, with the participation of jets from Greece.

Fifty-six passengersincluding 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Canadian, one Sudanese,one Chadian,one Portuguese,one Algerian, one Belgian, oneKuwaiti and one Saudiwere on board of the missing plane in addition to10 crew members.

11.05According to Reuters, Greece is deploying military aircraft and a frigate to an area in the southern Mediterranean where an EgyptAir aircraft vanished from radar screens early on Thursday, its defence ministry said.

Meanwhile, AP reports that the French military says a Falcon surveillance jet monitoring the Mediterranean for migrants has been dispatched to help search for the EgyptAir flight that crashed in the area.

Military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron told The Associated Press that the jet is joining the Egypt-led search effort, and the French navy may send another plane and a ship to the zone.

He said the Falcon was on a surveillance mission as part of EU efforts to monitor migrants crossing the Mediterranean toward Europe.

10.45According to AP, the director of Greece's Civil Aviation Authority says air traffic controllers were in contact with the pilot of the EgyptAir flight as it passed through Greek airspace.

The director, Constantine Lyzerakos, said the plane was at 37,000 feet, traveling at 519 mph, and did not report any problem.

Lyzerakos told private Antenna television that controllers tried to make contact with the pilot 10 miles before the flight exited the Greek Flight Information Range (FIR), but the pilot did not respond. Lyzerakos says controllers continued trying to contact the pilot until 3:39 a.m. Greek time (1239 GMT) when the plane disappeared from the radar.

Lyzerakos says the plane was in Cairo's FIR when it vanished.

10.40 Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault exchanged condolences on the casualties of EgyptAir flight MS804. Meanwhile, there are no confirmations from the Egyptian authorities that the plane has crashed. The two officials stressed that they need to cooperate to understand the reasons behind the crash.

10.25There were no weather issues at the time and in the vicinity of the area where an EgyptAir plane with 66 people on board went missing on Thursday morning, European air traffic network manager Eurocontrol told Reuters.

10.22 France has offered to send planes and boats to the crash area, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French foreign minister, declared this morning.

10.20PM Sherif Ismail told reporters at Egypt's international airport that search for the lost EgyptAir plane is still underway and that the crisis management centre is putting into consideration all scenarios that could have led to the disappearance of the plane including terrorism.

Ismail said that the armed forces might have received a plane signal not a pilot signal and that they are still looking into the matter.

Ismail said that a press conference is expected to take place after 1:00pm local time in Cairo to explain the latest updates on the incident.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy told reporters that all officials are closely following the matter and that families of the passengers are present in the airport.

10.10According to AFP and AP, the EgyptAir flight which disappeared on route from Paris to Cairo early Thursday crashed into the sea off the southern Greek island of Karpathos while in Egyptian airspace, a Greek aviation source told AFP.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian aviation ministry says the causes of the disappearance are still unknown and has denied all circulating reports of a crash.

10.00A joint crisis management centre between Egypt and France has been created at France’s international Charles De Gaulles airport to be able help families of passengers who on the lost plane.

9.50EgyptAir said the reasons behind the sudden disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo are still unknown. In their seventh statement since the disappearance of the aircraft, EgyptAir asks all media outlets to be cautious and to stick to their issued press releases.

9.40Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is currently holding an urgent meeting with the National Security Council to follow the latest updates and news on the lost EgyptAir flight. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told reporters from the EgyptAir crisis center that the search is still underway and that there is still no confirmations on the missing plane.

9.35According to AFP, France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that "no theory can be ruled out" as to why the EgyptAir flight went missing.

09:20 According to the armed forces, no distress signal was in fact received from the plane. A brief note posted a few moments ago by the army's official spokesman, Mohamed Samir, on Facebook said that the armed forces "had not received any SOS signal" from the lost plane.

09:15French President Francois Hollande called Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to follow developments, AFP reports. The French president is due to hold a crisis meeting with senior officials later.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has arrived at EgyptAir's crisis centre, the airline reported, where he will follow the situation in person.

09:10 From an EgyptAir statement: An EgyptAir official said that the Egyptian army's rescue and search had received a distress call from the plane at 4:26 Cairo local time.

The implications of this are still unclear.

09:00There are unofficial reports that the plane may indeed have crashed. AP quotes "Egyptian aviation officials" as saying that "the possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed." The search is currently underway for the debris, the officials said, requesting anonymity as they were not cleared to speak to the press.

08:00The Egyptian army has dispatched jet fighters to search for the missing flight, an army spokesman statement read.

The army is coordinating the search with Greece and Egyptian and Greek naval vessels have been dispatched to hunt for the plane, amid fears it may have crashed in the Mediterranean.

07:45 EgyptAir said the 56 passengers including 3 children on board include 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Canadian, one Sudanese,one Chadian,one Portuguese,one Algerian, one Belgian, oneKuwaiti and one Saudi. Ten staff members were also on board, three of them were security personnel.

An EgyptAir flight vanished early this morning en route from Paris to Cairo. Radar signals from flight MS804 were lost at 2:30am Cairo time, EgyptAir have said, around the time the flight entered Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean.

The commercial flight left Paris at 11:09pm GMT and was due to land at Cairo airport at 03:15am local time.

Sources told Al-Ahram Arabic website that air traffic controllers in Athens had failed to establish communication with the pilot after the plane went off the radar.

Fifty-six passengers and 10 crew members are on board.

Authorities say they lost contact with the plane as it was cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet at 2:45am Cairo local time.

Rescue teams and the Egyptian armed forces have been searching the area where the plane was last spotted on the radar.

The company identified the plane as an Airbus 320 manufactured in 2003.

The pilot, who was identified by sources as Captain Mohamed Shokeir, has over 6,000 flight hours while the copilot has over 2,000 hours of flight.

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