EgyptAir Flight Made Abrupt Turns, Crashed Into the Sea
Terrorism has not been ruled out
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2016 4:39 AM CDT
Updated May 19, 2016 6:42 AM CDT
A relative of Flight 804 victims is escorted at Charles de Gaulle Airport.   (Michel Euler)
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(Newser) – An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning off the Greek island of Crete, with French President Francois Hollande confirming "that this plane crashed at sea and has been lost." What we know:

  • Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail says it's too early to say whether a technical problem or a terror attack caused the plane to crash. "We cannot rule anything out," he told reporters at Cairo's airport, per the AP.
  • EgyptAir Flight 804 was lost from radar at around 2:30am local time when it was flying at 37,000 feet, according to the airline. EgyptAir says the Airbus A320 vanished 10 miles after it entered Egyptian airspace, around 175 miles off Egypt's coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

  • The chief of Greece's civil aviation department tells Reuters that no problems were reported during the aircraft's last broadcast, which occurred around 2:26am, but Greek controllers were unable to contact the pilot soon afterward as it was about to enter Egyptian airspace. "Within three minutes, communication was lost," says a rep for the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority, per the New York Times.
  • The AP reports Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos says the EgyptAir flight made abrupt turns and suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing: "It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet."
  • The Times reports that roughly two hours after it vanished, at 4:26am, the plane emitted some sort of signal; it's unclear if it was automatically sent by the plane or if a pilot triggered it.
  • Egyptian military aircraft and navy ships are taking part in a search operation off Egypt's Mediterranean coast to locate the debris of the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew members. Greece has also joined the search and rescue operation.