President Francois Hollande has confirmed that EGYPTAIR flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean in the early hours of the morning …
He told reporters at a press conference: “The information that we have managed to gather confirms, alas, that this plane has crashed. “It is out duty to find out and understand everything about the causes of what has happened. No hypothesis will be ruled out, nor can any be favoured over another.”
Mr Hollande’s statement – made following an emergency cabinet meeting – confirmed earlier comments from the head of Greek air traffic controllers, who told The Guardian that he considered it ‘a fact’ the plane had crashed.
Search for the wreckage
Meanwhile, the search and rescue operation is continuing after the EgyptAir Airbus A320 carrying 66 passengers and crew disappeared over the Mediterranean while on a routine flight to Cairo from Paris early this morning.
Spotters in a search plane discovered possible wreckage in the sea off the coast of Crete, according to reports. Ships are being re-routed to investigate.
The Egyptian navy, air force and coastguard are searching an area of the Mediterranean some 280km from the Egyptian coast, while Greece has sent two aircraft and a navy frigate to assist.
Earlier, the airline said in a statement: “EgyptAir A320 aircraft flight number MS804 lost contact with radar above the Mediterranean sea about 280km (175 miles) from the Egyptian seacoast at 2.30am [local time] as the flight was expected to arrive Cairo airport at 3.15am.”
No Distress Call
In the hours after the plane disappeared, the airline’s vice-chairman told CNN that the pilot made no distress call. An automated distress signal from the plane’s emergency devices was received at 4.26am, nearly two hours after the last radar contact.
The flight left the Charles de Gaulle airport last night, and had just entered Egyptian Airspace. It was cruising at an altitude of 37,000ft.
EgyptAir said there were 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Iraqis and one person each from Britain, Canada, Belgium, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Algeria among the passengers, including three children. There were also 10 crew, including three security personnel.
Paris prosecutors have launched an investigation.