20-06-2021 04:26 AM Jerusalem Timing

Debris Found off Greek Island in Search for EgyptAir Flight

Debris Found off Greek Island in Search for EgyptAir Flight

Signs of possible wreckage were found Thursday off the Greek island of Crete in a search for an EgyptAir flight missing in the Mediterranean, a Greek military spokesman told AFP.

Signs of possible wreckage were found Thursday off the Greek island of Crete in a search for an EgyptAir flight missing in the Mediterranean, a Greek military spokesman told AFP.

"There have been finds southeast of Crete, inside the Cairo flight information area," general staff spokesman Vassilis Beletsiotis said, adding that an Egyptian C-130 plane had spotted the floating objects, and ships would be sent to investigate.

Greek state television ERT had earlier reported that debris had been spotted some 230 nautical miles (425 km) from Crete, about 100 nautical miles from the plane's last known location.

EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo, which had 66 people on board, was last recorded some 130 nautical miles from the island of Karpathos, between Crete and Rhodes.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane fell 22,000 feet and swerved sharply in Egyptian airspace before it disappeared from radar screens, Greece's defense minister said.

No distress call was made.

EgypEgyptAirtian search teams combed the Mediterranean for signs of an EgyptAir flight with 66 people on board that had vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo on Thursday, the airline said.

There were 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security men on board the Airbus A320, EgyptAir said, adding that the passengers included a boy and two babies.

The Egyptian military said it had deployed search aircraft and naval vessels to locate the plane, in cooperation with Greece.

A tweet on the airline's official account said flight MS804 left Paris at 11:09 pm (2109 GMT), "heading to Cairo (and) has disappeared from radar".

Further tweets in Arabic said contact was lost at 2:45 am Cairo time (0045 GMT), when the plane was just inside Egyptian airspace and at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,000 metres).

The airline said in a statement that Egyptian military search and rescue teams were combing the area where the jet might have gone down.

An EgyptAir official said the search was focused on an area of sea north of the Egyptian coast, without providing a precise location.

"There was no distress call" before the flight vanished, Ahmed Adel, the vice president of EgyptAir Holding Company, told AFP.

The flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Cairo normally takes just over four hours and the plane was due to arrive at 3:05 am (0105 GMT).

EgyptAir said the plane had been manufactured in 2003.

EgyptAir hit the headlines in March when a flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to divert to Cyprus, where the "unstable" hijacker demanded to see his ex-wife.

He had claimed he was wearing an explosive vest, which turned out to be fake, and handed himself in within hours after freeing the passengers and crew.

In October, the ISIL Takfiri group claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board.

The group said it had smuggled a bomb concealed in a soda can on board the plane at Sharm El-Sheikh airport.

The disappearance of the jet on Thursday comes more than two years after the start of one of the most enduring mysteries in aviation history.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board, mostly Chinese and Malaysians.

Authorities believe the Boeing 777 detoured to the remote southern Indian Ocean and then plunged into the water.