Search for EgyptAir flight continues, no wreckage found

Published May 20th, 2016 - 08:00 GMT
EgyptAir A320 went missing over the Aegean Sea on Thursday morning. (AFP/File)
EgyptAir A320 went missing over the Aegean Sea on Thursday morning. (AFP/File)

The search for a missing EgyptAir A320 has now entered its second day.

EgyptAir officials have corrected earlier claims that debris found near a Greek island on Thursday was wreckage from missing flight MS804.

Local news platform Egyptian Streets carried a press release from the company saying: "No wreckage or debris of missing EgyptAir flight MS804 has been found."

On Thursday night the company carried information contained in an official letter from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs apparently confirming that debris near the Greek island of Karpathos belonged to the missing jet.

This claim was later rejected by Greek aviation officials.

The EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 people on board went missing over the eastern Mediterranean early on Thursday morning after it entered Egyptian airspace, the airline had said earlier.

In a series of posts made on its official Twitter account, EgyptAir said flight MS804, which included 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel, lost contact with its radar system in the early morning hours.

The company tweeted that the Airbus A320 was at 37,000 feet and disappeared after entering 10 miles inside Egyptian airspace.

According to the airline, there were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one British, one Belgian, one Portuguese, one Algerian, one Chadian, one Canadian, one Sudanese, one Kuwaiti and one Saudi citizen aboard.

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that information showed the Egyptian plane had crashed.

“Unfortunately the information we have ... confirms to us that the plane came down and is lost,” Hollande said. “No hypothesis can be ruled out, nor can any be favored over another.”

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority said air traffic controllers had tried to contact the plane before it moved into Egyptian airspace, but received no reply.

In a statement, the Greek body said: “At 3:27 a.m. the Athens Control Centre made an attempt to contact the aircraft ... Despite the repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond, so the air traffic controller called the hazard frequency, with no response from the aircraft.”

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the missing plane made “sudden swerves” as it flew at 37,000 feet.

He said data show the stricken plane made a 90 degree left-hand turn then spiraled 360 degrees to the right as it dropped 22,000 feet.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry offered condolences to the victims' families and to the people of Egypt.

In Oct. 2015, a passenger plane went down as it left Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people aboard, mostly Russian tourists. A Daesh affiliate had claimed responsibility for the incident.

Although Russia said the plane was brought down by a bomb, Egyptian authorities insisted that the investigation into the October accident was still ongoing.

In February, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi admitted that the plane was brought down by terrorists seeking to damage the country’s tourism industry and relations with Russia.

In March, an Egyptian national briefly hijacked an EgyptAir plane and forced it to land on the island of Cyprus.

By Satuk Buğra Kutlugün and Magda Panoutsopoulou


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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