The EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board went into a sudden spin and plunged 22,000ft before vanishing off the radar, a Greek minister revealed today
Flight MS804 came down near the Greek island of Karpathos ten miles into Egyptian airspace at around 00.30am GMT without making a distress call. Greek defence minister Panos Kammenos said the Airbus A320 made ‘sudden swerves’ mid-air, lurching 90 degrees to the left then 360 degrees to the right as it fell out of the sky.
The revelation came after a former air accident chief said all the evidence pointed to the plane being targeted in a terrorist attack.
The Airbus A320 left the French capital’s Charles De Gaulle Airport at 9.09pm GMT last night before coming down off the Greek island of Karpathos ten miles into Egyptian airspace at around 00.30am GMT. Officials said there was no distress call.
Egyptian Officials: EgyptAir Plane Crashed
The 56 passengers on board included one Briton, 30 Egyptians, 15 French, one Belgian, one Iraqi, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi Arabian, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian. There were 10 crew on flight MS804 including three security guards.
Jean-Paul Troadec, the former chief of the BEA national investigation unit, said the lack of a live emergency alert suggested a ‘brutal event’.
He told Europe 1 radio station in Paris: ‘A technical problem, a fire or a failed motor do not cause an instant accident and the team has time to react.
‘The team said nothing, they did not react, so it was very probably a brutal event and we can certainly think about an attack.’
His comments came after a merchant ship captain reported seeing a ‘flame in the sky’ over the Mediterranean. France called a crisis meeting of top ministers as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said ‘no theory can be ruled out’ to explain the plane’s disappearance.
ISIS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and last October claimed the bombing of a Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh which killed all 224 people on board.
Massive search underway for missing EgyptAir Flight 804:
The flight was the aircraft’s fifth of the day, having also flown to the Eritrean capital of Asmara, the Tunisian capital Tunis and Brussels in Belgium.
Devastated relatives wept and comforted each other as they gathered at Charles De Gaulle and Cairo Airports waiting for news of their loved ones
The British Foreign Office said it was in contact with the family of a British national feared dead.
EgyptAir first reported on the disappearance of the flight, tweeting: ‘An informed source at EGYPTAIR stated that Flight no MS804,which departed Paris at 9.09pm (GMT), heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar.’
The director of Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority says air traffic controllers were in contact with the pilot of the EgyptAir flight as it passed through Greek airspace. Konstantinos Lintzerakos said the plane was at 37,000 feet, travelling at 519 mph, and did not report any problems.
Lyzerakos told private Antenna television that controllers tried to make contact with the pilot 10 miles before the flight exited the Greek Flight Information Range (FIR), but the pilot did not respond.
Lyzerakos said controllers continued trying to contact the pilot until 0.39am GMT when the plane disappeared from the radar, around 10 miles into Egyptian airspace.
Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted an airport official as saying the pilot did not send a distress call and that last contact with the plane was made 10 minutes before it disappeared from radar.
EgyptAir said the plane sent an emergency signal, possibly from an emergency beacon attached to the plane, at 2.26am (GMT) two hours after it vanished. source