Cairo, May 20 (IANS) A massive search continued on Friday for an EgyptAir plane carrying 66 people from Paris to Cairo that disappeared over the Mediterranean on Thursday.
Greek, Egyptian, French and British military units along with a technical adviser from Airbus are taking part in the operation near Greece’s Karpathos island, BBC reported.
Flight MS804 left Paris at 11.09 on Wednesday night and was scheduled to arrive in the Egyptian capital soon at 3.15 a.m on Thursday. IT disappeared from radar at 2.30 a.m.
On the plane were 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel.
Greek authorities said radar showed the Airbus A320 made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft before plunging into the sea.
Meanwhile, Egypt said the plane was more likely to have been brought down by a terrorist act than a technical fault.
So far, no wreckage or debris from the aircraft has been found.
Initial reports late on Thursday, based on Egyptian officials’ comments that wreckage had been found, were later proved unfounded.
Greece’s lead air accident investigator Athanasios Binis said items including lifejackets found near Karpathos were not from the Airbus A320.
“An assessment of the finds showed that they do not belong to an aircraft,” he said.
In France, the focus is on whether a possible breach of security happened at Charles de Gaulle airport of Paris.
Greek aviation officials said air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot when he entered Greek airspace and everything appeared normal.
They tried to contact him again at 2.27 a.m., as the plane was set to enter Egyptian airspace, but “despite repeated calls, the aircraft did not respond”. Minutes later it vanished from radar.
“The picture we have at the moment on the accident as it emerges from the Greek air force operations centre is that the aircraft was approximately 10-15 miles inside the Egyptian FIR (flight information region) and at an altitude of 37,000 ft,” Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said.
“It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 37,000 to 15,000 ft and then it was lost at about 10,000 ft,” he added.