Missing EgyptAir flight with 66 people on board has crashed, Egyptian officials say

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CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian aviation officials say an EgyptAir Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board has crashed.

The officials say the search is now underway for the debris. They say the "possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed," as the plane hasn't landed in any of the nearby airports.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The plane was flying at 37,000 feet when it disappeared from radar at 2:45 a.m. Thursday local time and about 10 miles into Egyptian radar airspace, the airline tweeted. EgyptAir said the plane was over the Mediterranean Sea and about 174 miles from the Egyptian coast at the time.

The Airbus A320 had 56 passengers, including two infants, and 10 crew members, said Capt. Ahmed Adel, vice chairman of EgyptAir. No Americans were listed aboard the plane.

EgyptAir tweeted the following information, including the nationalities of those on board.

"An EGYPTAIR official declared that EGYPTAIR A320 aircraft in its flight number MS804 lost contact with radar above the Mediterranean Sea about 280 KM from the Egyptian seacoast at 02:30 am CLT as the flight was expected to arrive Cairo Airport at 03:15 am CLT.

"EGYPTAIR confirms that there are 56 passengers in addition to 10 cabin crew members onboard the aircraft and the passengers' nationalities are as follows:
- 15 French
- 30 Egyptian
- 1 British
- 1 Belgium
- 2 Iraqis
- 1 Kuwaiti
- 1 Saudi
- 1 Sudanese
- 1 Chadian
- 1 Portuguese
- 1 Algerian
- 1 Canadian

"EGYPTAIR crisis center is following up with the concerned authorities and EGYPTAIR will issue any additional information once available.

"EGYPTAIR has hosted the passengers' families near to Cairo Airport and has provided doctors, translators and all the necessary services to the passengers' family members during their stay at Cairo Airport."

Ahram, Egypt's state-run newspaper, quoted an airport official as saying that the pilot had not sent a distress signal before it disappeared early Thursday. The last contact with the plane was 10 minutes before it vanished, he was quoted as saying.

The A320 is one of the most widely used Airbus planes, a single-aisle plane that usually seats about 150 people and is used for short- and medium-range flights around the world. Nearly 4,000 are in operation, according the company's website.

Greece is participating in the search and rescue operation for the missing EgyptAir flight with two aircraft. Helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.

The Hellenic National Defense General Staff said one frigate is also heading to the area where the plane disappeared and is about 100 nautical miles or 4 hours away at this time.

If the plane entered Egypt airspace and did not report in, that's highly significant, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said.

"Since they were 10 miles into Egypt airspace, they should have reported in. If anything had been going on they would have reported at that time," she said.

Conditions were clear and calm when the plane crossed over the Mediterranean, according to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.

In a statement on its website, Charles de Gaulle Airport said EgyptAir Flight 804 left Paris at 11:09 p.m. local time and was supposed to land in Cairo at 3.15 a.m. Thursday. Both the departure and arrival cities are in the same time zone.

The Egyptian navy is conducting search and rescue operations in the area, CNN's Ian Lee said from Cairo.

The plane's captain had 6,000 flying hours while the first officer had 4,000, Adel said.

The airline's media center said it will provide more information as it becomes available.





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