NOTE: Further updates can be found at the bottom of this post.
On Wednesday evening, an EgyptAir flight that took off from Paris (heading to Cairo) disappeared from radar. Immediate details were scarce, but the first indication that something was amiss came from a FlightRadar24 tweet, which reported that Flight 804 seemingly vanished over the Mediterranean Sea.
EgyptAir soon confirmed this terrible news on Twitter, which raised worldwide fears as the media scrambled to gather information.
Flight 804’s missing status leaves the fate of 66 people in question. The airline issued a statement saying that the aircraft (an Airbus A320-232) had just entered Egyptian airspace — about 10 miles in at an altitude of 37,000 feet — when the radar disappearance occurred at around 2:45am Cairo local time. EgyptAir has established contact with authorities, and search and rescue teams have deployed.
During a live CNN report, Vice Chairman of EgyptAir Ahmed Adel revealed that the aircraft’s pilot had 6000 flight hours. There were 53 adults, 2 infants, and 1 child on board with 3 security people present and no prior warnings of any special or dangerous cargo aboard. No Americans were aboard the flight, but EgyptAir released the nationalities of the passengers — 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 1 Belgian, and 1 Briton. The New York Times added a statement from the Egypt civil aviation service’s Ehab Mohy el-Deen, who indicated, “They did not radio for help or lose altitude. They just vanished.”
UPDATE – 1:15am EST: CNN indicates that Egypt officials believe Flight 804 has likely crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.
UPDATE – 7:30am EST: Although no debris from the aircraft has been recovered, French President Francois Hollande confirms that the plane has “crashed.”
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos adds that the aircraft fell 20,000 feet with “sudden swerves” before the signal was lost. CNN further details how the plane “swerved 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right.”