A Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight has disappeared off the northern coast of Egypt with 66 people on board. Egypt’s armed forces launched a search and rescue operation to locate the aircraft. Follow DW for the latest updates.
All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)
An Airbus 320 disappeared from radar carrying 66 people on board after entering Egyptian airspace. DW is following the story as it develops.
21:09: EgyptAir flight MS804 bound for Cairo departed from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris carrying 66 people on board, including 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel.
00:30: Flight MS804 lost contact with radar after entering Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean Sea. The aircraft – an Airbus A320 – was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,000 meters).
03:52: EgyptAir announced it was in contact with Egypt’s aviation authorities. The carrier added that the country’s armed forces launched a search and rescue operation.
Greece’s air force and navy also joined the maritime rescue operation.
05:45: EgyptAir released the nationalities of the passengers on board flight MS804. At least 30 Egyptian and 15 French nationals were on the aircraft when it disappeared. Passengers were also from the following countries: the UK, Belgium, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada.
05:55: The French government announced that President Francois Hollande spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, adding that they agreed to “closely cooperate to establish the circumstances” of flight MS804’s disappearance.
05:56: “We are aware of media reports. At this time we have no further details, but we will provide further information when available,” the aircraft’s manufacturer Airbus said in a tweet.
06:05: France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls told RTL radio that French authorities are prepared to join the search and rescue operation.
He added that a crisis center has been opened at the Charles de Gaulle Airport to provide support for families.
06:08: Greek air traffic controllers spoke with the pilot while flying over EU country’s airspace, adding that no issues were reported at the time.
“The pilot did not mention any problems,” Kostas Litzerakis, head of Greece’s civil aviation department, told Reuters news agency.
According to the carrier, the pilot had 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 on an Airbus 320. The co-pilot had accrued 2,766 flying hours.
6:10: Officials of Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said the plane crashed since it did not land at any of the nearby airports, according to AP news agency.
06:17: Egypt’s armed forces said it received a distress signal from the aircraft at 02:26, approximately two hours after the plane lost contact with radar, according to EgyptAir.
06:41: EgyptAir announced on Twitter that it is working with authorities to determine the location and cause of the aircraft’s disappearance via its crisis center.
“EgyptAir crisis center is following up with the concerned authorities and EgyptAir will issue any additional information once available,” the carrier said.
06:46: In the past year, Egypt has struggled with a series of aviation crises.
In March, an Egyptian man hijacked a domestic EgyptAir flight and redirected the aircraft to Cyprus after threatening to blow up the plane, saying he was strapped with a suicide belt.
A Russian passenger flight departing from the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg was downed in October, killing all 224 people on board. The “Islamic State” militant group’s Sinai affiliate claimed responsibility for the aviation tragedy.
The attack prompted Russian authorities to suspend all commercial flights between Egypt and Russia.
07:02: Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail arrived at EgyptAir’s crisis center at Cairo International Airport, according to the carrier.
The premier was “presented with a detailed briefing about the situation from the crisis team and he has directed all the concerned authorities to take all necessary action for dealing with the crisis,” EgyptAir said.
Egypt’s civil aviation minister has also arrived at the crisis center.
07:15: The Egyptian army denied that it received a distress signal from the aircraft.
The armed forces “had not received any SOS signal,” said army spokesman Mohammed Samir in a statement published on Facebook, according to state-run al-Ahram news outlet.
The military’s announcement contradicts an earlier report from EgyptAir.
07:21: Flight tracking site FlightRadar24 said it did not detect an “emergency squawk” from EgyptAir flight MS804.