MS804: “Terror more likely than tech failure”
An EgyptAir Airbus A320 with 66 on board went missing over the Mediterranean hours after it took off from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. There have been reports of debris and life vests being found. Here’s what is known about the disappeared MS804 so far.
On MS804, EgyptAir operated an Airbus A320 – a narrow-body airliner, considered safe and reliable in the industry to serve short- or medium-haul destinations. According to the Airbus’ statement, this 13-year-old plane was delivered to EgyptAir in 2003 and has accumulated 48,000 flying hours in total.
Egyptian Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy told journalists the plane was in good technical condition and had passed all necessary safety checks.
In 2013, the missing A320 reportedly experienced engine failure, SkyNews Arabia said, citing an Egyptian civil aviation source. At that time, the aircraft was scheduled to fly from Cairo to Istanbul, but had to return for an emergency landing.
On board the aircraft were 66 people, including 56 passengers – three of them children – and 10 crewmembers. The crew consisted of two pilots, five flight attendants and three security personnel. Among the passengers, EgyptAir listed 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis and one citizen each from the UK, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria and Canada.
The airline insists the pilots were highly experienced. The captain had 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 on the A320, while his first officer had a total of 2,766 flying hours.
According to Greece’s civil aviation authority, which has released a timeline of the plane’s journey over national airspace,“the pilot was in good spirits and thanked the [air traffic] controller in Greek” before radio contact with MS804 was lost.
The EgyptAir A320 took off from Charles de Gaulle at 11:09 p.m. local time (2109 GMT) on Wednesday and was expected to arrive in Cairo by 3 a.m. on Thursday. A direct flight usually lasts around four hours.
According to the latest update from EgyptAir, Flight MS804 went off the radar above the Mediterranean about 280km (175 miles) from the Egyptian seacoast at 2:30 a.m. Cairo time (0030 GMT) at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,300 meters). Greek authorities have declared a 40-mile (64km) no-fly zone over their part of the airspace in the vicinity of the search zone in the southern Mediterranean, a Greek diplomat said in Cairo. The zone was established, based on the location of the last signal coming from the missing plane.
Previous reports also suggested that the plane crashed 130 miles from the Greek island of Karpathos, according to AFP, citing an aviation source in Greece.
Fathy, Egypt’s aviation minister, said that a terrorist attack “was more likely” to have taken down the missing EgyptAir flight than any other cause, but urged people not to draw any premature conclusions about the crash.
One of the victims of the doomed EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed into the Mediterranean was a highly regarded senior geologist for the Australian-listed company Centamin Egypt.
British-born Richard Osman, a 40-year-old geologist, had also worked for the Harmony Gold company in Western Australia early in his career and had just celebrated the birth of his second daughter a fortnight ago.
Mr Osman was one of the 56 passengers on board MS804 flying from Paris to Cairo, which swerved violently and spun out of control just 20 minutes before the scheduled landing at 3.05am. He had been on the flight to visit Centamin’s main asset, the Sukari mine in Egypt.
Air accident investigators are just beginning their inquiries but officials from Egypt, Greece and France have all pointed to a bomb being to blame for the catastrophic crash.
Mr Osman, who grew up in Tanerdy, Carmarthen in West Wales, and his French wife Aureilie had been ‘’deliriously happy’’ at the birth of Olympe on April 27, to join big sister Victios, 1. Mr Osman’s wife and children were not on the flight and are being cared for in Paris by Mrs Osman’s family.
His devastated brother Alastair said he was in shock after receiving an early morning call from his sister. ‘I still can’t take it in,’ he said, describing his brother as a workaholic looking forward to spending more time with his family.
‘Richard was so happy at the birth of his second daughter, and yet weeks later he is no longer with us – it’s an absolute tragedy.’’
Mr Osman had previously been the manager at the Sukari mine but had more recently been the company’s chief geologist based in Jersey.
The Osman family was well known in south Wales as Mr Osman’s father Dr Mohamed Fekry Ali Osman established a small local hospital there and specialized in ear nose and throat surgery after immigrating from Egypt.
Another passenger on board the flight was returning home to his family after the death of his mother.
The Chadian passenger, whose name was not released, was returning to Chad to mourn his mother, an official from the Chad French embassy Muhammed Allamine said.
Mr Allamine said: “He just lost his mother actually,
“He was going to Chad to mourn his mother. He [was] going to give condolences to his family.” The Chadian passenger had studied at the military academy in Saint Cyr.
Canadian officials said two Canadian residents were on board the flight, including Marwa Hamdy, who travelled on a Canadian passport, and another unidentified person.
Two heartbroken friends of another passenger said a passenger on the flight was an Egyptian man who had been in France for medical treatment and was returning home.
A French victim was announced as Ahmed Helal, a director of a Proctor and Gamble factory in Amiens, France.
“This is a very difficult moment for all P&G people, especially for employees of Amiens’ site,” the company said in a statement.
The Portuguese passenger was named as Joao David e Silva, a 62-year-old father of four who works for the Portuguese construction company Mota-Engil.
Also on the plane were a French couple in their 40s and their 3-year-old child, all of whom had been living in Angers.
it certainly wasnt mechanical..the important part here could be the manifest and who is on board..explosives loaded most likely from paris airport..