Missing EgyptAir flight 804 has crashed, says French President
Search teams on Thursday reportedly recovered one of the black boxes – the cockpit voice recorder – from the EgyptAir plane that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month while on its way from Paris to Cairo, killing all 66 people on board. Picture: Missing EgyptAir flight 804 has crashed, says French PresidentReuters

UPDATE: 4:13 p.m. IST — 

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that EgyptAir flight MS804 has crashed, according to the Guardian. "No hypothesis" can be ruled out on the causes of the crash, he said. Earlier reports had suggested that the flight crashed into the Mediterranean between Greece and Egypt.

"Unfortunately the information we have ... confirms to us that the plane came down and is lost," Hollande was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Jean-Paul Troadec, former president of the French air accident investigation bureau (BEA) had earlier told the Guardian, "The priority is to begin the investigation and to find, if possible, debris from the aircraft and eventually, the site of the wreckage. ...there's a strong possibility of an explosion on board from a bomb or a suicide bomber. The idea of a technical accident... seems also possible but not that likely. We could also consider a missile, which is what happened to the Malaysia Airlines aircraft in July 2014.

"If the crew didn't send an alert signal, it's because what happened was very sudden. A problem with an engine or a technical fault, would not produce an immediate accident. In this case, the crew did not react, which makes us think of a bomb."

There were contradictory reports of the crew sending distress signals. The aircraft sent emergency signal at 4:26 a.m. (local time), two hours after it went missing, Reuters reported. An underwater beacon attached to flight recorders starts emitting signal when the aircraft crashes.

Egyptian civil aviation and EgyptAir officials believe flight 804 that disappeared earlier on Thursday. At least 30 Egyptians nationals, 15 French, one Briton and one Belgian were among the passengers on board the missing flight, according to Reuters.

Original Story —

EgyptAir flight number MS804 from Paris to Cairo, carrying 66 passengers, reportedly went off radar early on Thursday morning. The passengers include a child, two infants and 10 crew members.

The aircraft may have crashed into the sea, SkyNews Arabia quoted Ihab Raslan — the spokesperson for the civil aviation authority in Egypt — as saying, according to the Associated Press report.

According to the Guardian, the flight departed from Paris' Charles De Gaulle airport at 11.09 p.m. local time on Wednesday. Contact with the plane was reportedly lost at 2:30 a.m. Cairo time. The aircraft was three hours forty minutes into its journey when it went missing from the radar.

EgyptAir's official statement was quoted by the Guardian as saying that the plane, an Airbus A320, was last known travelling at 37,000 feet. The report also says that contact with the aircraft was lost 16 kms into Egyptian airspace.

Ahmed Abdel, vice-chairman of EgyptAir holding company, was quoted by CNN as saying that they had not received any distress call from the plane.

The report also stated that the search and rescue teams were given the coordinates of the location where the plane lost contact. A rescue plane has reached the area. The location is reportedly between Athens and Egypt, around 50 to 65 km north of the Egyptian coast.

Earlier, an EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked by a man with what authorities said was a fake suicide belt, Reuters reported. The flight was forced to land in Cyprus. The man was arrested after he surrendered.

The report also states that another EgyptAir plane, a Boeing 737, crashed into a hill killing 14 people, while approaching the Tunis-Carthage International Airport.

In October 1999, the first officer of Boeing 767 intentionally crashed the aircraft into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 people on board.