Yesterday evening, Egyptair released a statement via Twitter announcing that EgyptAir flight 804, which was on its way from Paris to Cairo, had vanished from its radar with 66 people aboard. For hours, officials scrambled searching for the plane that was flying at 37,000 feet when it reportedly lost contact above the Mediterranean Sea.
Immediately, fears spread that the flight may have been hijacked by terrorists, as the airline has a history of hijackings, including the 1985 hijacking of a Boeing 737 by gunmen linked to the Abu Nidal extremist group. The hijacking resulted in the deaths of 56 people.
While rumors continued to develop overnight, EgyptAir released a statement on its website distancing itself from any involvement in the flight’s disappearance: “EgyptAir denies all misleading information published by news websites and on the social media channels regarding the reasons of the disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804 and the company confirms that the reason of disappearance hasn’t been yet confirmed. EgyptAir calls for media resources to be assured of the information they post or release and to abide by the official press releases issued by EgyptAir media center.”
Sadly, much of the speculation came to an end with reports from Greece’s defense minister who announced that flight 804 “swerved and then plunged” before descending into the Mediterranean. Reportedly, at 3:27 a.m. local time, Greek controllers tried to reach the plane 10 miles before it left Greece’s airspace. They received no response after repeated attempts.
Two minutes later, the plane passed into Egyptian airspace. Shortly after, radar contact was lost.
Passengers aboard the flight, which departed Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to land in Cairo at 3:15 a.m. Thursday, were from nations including France and Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Portugal, Belgium, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Britain, Canada and Chad.
According to reports, the plane, Airbus A320, which had been in EgyptAir’s fleet since 2003, had no issues. The flight captain was experienced.
According to Greece’s reports, officials must assume the worst and have announced that the plane crashed. Family members and loved ones have gathered at Charles de Gaulle Airport seeking answers and comfort.