French President Francois Hollande confirmed fears over the fate of EgyptAir flight MS804, stating that the “plane has crashed”.
“Information confirms, alas, that this plane has crashed, and it has disappeared,” said the French President at a press conference.
Meanwhile, Greece’s Minister of Defense announced that the airplane plunged 22,000 feet and made sudden swerves before disappearing. The plane swerved 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees right prior to dropping off all radars, said the Defense Minister.
Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, at a press conference, said that it could not confirm Greece’s reports, adding that investigations are ongoing and that no debris has been discovered.. The Ministry, EgyptAir, and French officials have warned against assumptions about the cause of the airplane’s fate.
Earlier, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry exchanged condolences with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault in a telephone conversation over what was described in a statement issued by Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the “fall” of the EgyptAir flight MS804.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 19, 2016
Both sides expressed their willingness to maintain close cooperation and communication with regards to investigating the cause of the incident. Those on board the plane included 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals.
According to EgyptAir, an emergency signal was received by the Egyptian military at 4:26AM local time, almost two hours after the airplane ‘disappeared from radar’ at 2:30AM. However, Egypt’s military denies any distress signal was received from the plane.
The flight from Paris to Cairo was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members. The passengers included two infants and one child, said EgyptAir in a statement. An EgyptAir Civil Aviation Ministry official said that the airplane most likely crashed.
— RT (@RT_com) May 19, 2016
The nationalities included passengers from the following countries, announced EgyptAir: Egypt (30), France (15), Iraq (2), United Kingdom (1), Belgium (1), Kuwait (1), Saudi Arabia (1), Algeria (1) Sudan (1), Chad (1), Portugal (1), and Canada (1).
France has deployed a surveillance jet to help with the search for any survivors and wreckage.
EgyptAir said the airplane disappeared at 2:30AM Cairo time, adding that a distress signal was received by the military two hours later at 4:26AM. The signal is likely an automated one which was not sent by the pilot.
The airplane was flying at 37,000 feet when it disappeared approximately 10 miles in Egyptian airspace. Flight Radar appears to show the airplane losing communication with radar tracking off the coast of Egypt.
The pilot of the aircraft had 6,275 hours of flight time, of which 2,101 were on the same model of aircraft, said EgyptAir. The co-pilot had recorded 2,766 hours of flight time. The aircraft was manufactured in 2003 and had about 48,000 hours of flight time, added EgyptAir.