EgyptAir flight MS804 carrying 59 passengers and crew on from Paris to Cairo was reported missing on Thursday, disappearing from radar over the Mediterranean Sea at 2.30am local time.
The airline confirmed the information on its official Twitter account: “An official source at EgyptAir stated that Flight MS804, which departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST), heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar.”
EgyptAir later tweeted that the EgyptAir flight MS804, which was traveling at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,280 metres), just disappeared from radar soon after entering the Egyptian airspace. The Airbus A320 aircraft had on board, 56 passengers and 10 crew, two babies and one child were also on board the EgyptAir Flight.
Flightradar24.com, says the plane was last spotted above the Mediterranean Sea.
In the meantime, there is no official confirmation that the plane had crashed, but EgyptAir officials and the Egyptian civil aviation department have told Reuters that they are not ruling it out entirely as they believed the jet came down in the sea.
“The theory that the plane crashed and fell is now confirmed after the preliminary search and after it did not arrive at any of the nearby airports,” said a senior aviation source, who remained anonymous.
Civil aviation ministry in Egypt said search and rescue teams are conducting a search for the missing jet, while relevant information is being gathered about the condition of the plane at the time.
Meanwhile, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has had a telephone discussion with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukryon about the missing plane.
Minister Ayrault has also set up a “crisis cell” at the French embassy in Cairo.
15 people on board the EgyptAir flight MS804 were French nationals.
According to Egypt’s Prime Minister Sheriff Ismail, it is too early to rule out any possible explanation for the incident, including terrorism.
“Search operations are ongoing at this time for the airplane in the area where it is believed to have lost contact,” he told reporters gathered at Cairo airport.
When asked if terrorism is a possible explanation for the incidence, Ismail said: “We cannot exclude anything at this time or confirm anything. All the search operations must be concluded so we can know the cause.”
The last fatal incident involving an EgyptAir flight was in May 2002, when a Boeing 737 crashed into a hill while approaching Tunis-Carthage International Airport, killing 14 people.