Egypt Air flight lost over Mediterranean

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News reports have been confirmed that Egypt Air Flight 804, from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt has crashed approximately 175 miles north of the Egyptian coast.

French president François Hollande said the plane had crashed and the Associated Press reported that the defense minister of Greece, Panos Kammenos, said their radar showed the flight making abrupt turns, quickly losing 22,000 feet before it disappeared off its radar screens.

An Egypt Air Airbus A320 like the one that disappeared. (Wikipedia)
An Egypt Air Airbus A320 like the one that disappeared. (Wikipedia)

The crash occurred about  2:30 a.m. Eastern European Time (Cairo Time), 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time, shortly after air traffic control in Egypt spoke to the aircraft. It was flying at 37,000 feet when it disappeared off civilian radar screens. The plane was flying in clear weather.

On board were 56 passengers and 10 crew members, including three Egyptian security personnel. None of the people on board are Americans, according to reports.

Although much speculation is going on as to how and why the Airbus A320-232 crashed, no one has officially stated a reason for the crash. This particular aircraft had a very safe record and was inspected before it left Cairo earlier in the day. It was on its fifth flight of the day.

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most heavily traveled bodies of water so there are many ships from multiple countries — including the United States — searching the area, along with search aircraft from Greece and Egypt. U.S. aircraft is heading to the area to assist in the search.

Egypt Air and the government of Egypt are making arrangements for family members to go to Cairo while the search and rescue operations take place, as well as the investigations.

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Debris thought to be from the missing aircraft, floating in the water. (Tarek Wahba Facebook)
Debris thought to be from the missing aircraft, floating in the water. (Tarek Wahba Facebook)

UPDATE 10:31 a.m.: Greek authorities have reported finding debris from the plane off the island of Karpathos and the airline confirmed it through Twitter.

Tarek Wahba, reported to be the captain of the Maersk Ahram container ship, has been posting photos to his Facebook page of what appears to be life jackets floating in the Mediterranean Sea. He also posted photos of the radar being used to search for the wreckage and one of the search planes as it flew over his ship.

Several theories on what happened to the plane are being investigated, including an act of terrorism and pilot suicide, but as of yet no one has reported any cause for the crash.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that President Obama has offered investigative help to Egypt. Earnest also said no one has been able to determine the cause of the crash.

Top photo flight rendition using Google Maps.