EgyptAir Flight 804: What we know so far

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning

By Michael Garofalo
May 19, 2016 8:43PM (UTC)
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(Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo carrying 66 people vanished from radar over the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning. Here's what we know so far about EgyptAir Flight 804:

  • The Airbus A320 left Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris late Wednesday evening en route to Cairo. Greek air traffic controllers spoke with plane's pilot at 2:26 a.m. Thursday morning and reported nothing out of the ordinary.
  • At 2:27 a.m., just after entering Egyptian airspace, the plane made a series of abrupt maneuvers and then disappeared from radar. "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,” Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos explained.
  • French, British, and American military forces are assisting Greek and Egyptian authorities in search efforts. Initial reports citing Greek defense sources said debris has been found about 230 nautical miles southeast of the Greek isle of Crete. EgyptAir said in a Facebook post that the wreckage has been found. However, a senior Greek aviation official subsequently said that debris found thus far does not belong to an aircraft, reports the Associated Press.
  • French President François Hollande confirmed that the plane had crashed, but did not provide an explanation for the jet's disappearance. "When we have the truth we will draw our conclusions," Hollande said Thursday. "Whether this was an accident or something else, perhaps terrorist."
  • Egyptian aviation minister Sherif Fathi said that while no conclusions could yet be drawn, the possibility that a terror attack caused the crash is "stronger" than the chance of technical failure being at fault.
  • The head of Russia's domestic intelligence service, Alexander Bortnikov, says that the EgyptAir crash was an act of terrorism "in all likelihood." In October 2015, a Russian commercial flight crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing 224. Russian authorities said a bomb brought down the jet, and a local branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
  • White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday it was still too early to assess what caused the crash, but CNN reports that American officials are "operating on an initial theory" that the crash was caused by a bomb.
  • Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn't wait for an official report to make his judgment:
  • Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton agreed with Trump's assessment of the cause of the crash, telling CNN, "It does appear that it was an act of terrorism."
  • A senior U.S. intelligence official tells NBC News that infrared and multi-spectral imagers strongly suggest that an explosion occurred on the plane.

Michael Garofalo

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Egyptair Flight 804