A flight from Paris that was headed to Cairo early Thursday most likely crashed in the Mediterranean Sea due to a terrorist attack, aviation officials are now saying.
Greek state TV is reporting that there are signs of wreckage off the coast of the Greek Island, Crete, roughly 230 nautical miles carrying 56 passengers and ten crew members.
During a press conference on the crash, Egypt’s aviation minister Sherif Fathy said, “If you analyze the situation properly the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem].”
Sherif stated that the plane left Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11:09 P.M and was set to arrive in Cairo at 3:15 A.M. Greek officials reported that the plane turned and spun sharply just before dropping and seemingly started spiraling out of control.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said in a news conference, “the plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet.”
Greek aviation authorities stated that the pilot was in good spirits around 2:48 local time but after repeated efforts to get in contact with the pilot 40 minutes later, no one answered as the plane was on the verge of leaving Greek air space. No distress call was received from the EgyptAir A320.
Fathy identified the 56 passengers as 15 of them being French, 30 Egyptian, one Briton, one Saudi, one Kuwaiti, two Iraqis, one Canadian, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Sudanese and one Algerian.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told reporters at Cairo airport that it is unknown if the plane crashed due to a terrorist attack. He said “we cannot rule anything out.”
British pilot, Alan Carter told BBC that he was flying in the same airspace as the EgyptAir 320 and around the same time that the plane crashed. He said that the conditions for flying were “perfect” and there were no problems with communication.
There are multiple efforts to help in the search for the wreckage. Kammenos said there is a submarine standing by 100 miles from the crash area that is available to help. Currently, Greece already has a navy frigate, a radar plane and two transport planes helping in the search efforts. Egypt has also sent two F-16’s and a transport plane. The French also have offered assistance with military planes and boats.
“We are at the disposition of the Egyptian authorities with our military capacity, with our planes, our boats to help in the search for this plane,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for an emergency meeting with the National Security Council after the crash.