French President Francois Hollande says that Egyptair Flight MS804 crashed while en route from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to Cairo, NBC News reports. The Airbus A320 plane disappeared from radar with 56 passengers, seven crew and three security personnel over the Mediterranean Sea while approximately 175 miles away from Egypt’s coast.
President Hollande told NBC News that it was too soon to speculate as to the cause of the crash. At the same time, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy declined to use the word “crash,” saying that he would use the term “missing” until debris could be found. Egyptian and Greek authorities are focusing search efforts on the Mediterranean. At the request of the Greek government, a U.S. Navy aircraft will also join the search.
Update: Egyptair Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel has confirmed to CNN that officials have found the wreckage of the aircraft near the Greek island of Karpathos, although he offered no word on the condition of the debris.
According to The Guardian, Fathy has conceded that “…the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem]” in terms of what could have caused the crash. The Greek defense minister said that the plane fell to an altitude of 22,000 feet and swerved sharply before disappearing from radar screens.
The crash comes not long after terrorists brought down a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people onboard. That attack prompted officials to suspend most leisure travel flights to the Sinai, a major tourist area that, according to an analysis by The Daily Telegraph published at the time, was seen as a “safe haven” in a country otherwise troubled by terrorist attacks and the 2011 revolution.
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