EgyptAir Flight Disappears From Radar — UPDATE

by Alexi McCammond

An EgyptAir flight disappeared from radar on Wednesday, May 18. The plane was reportedly traveling from Paris to Cairo carrying 59 passengers and 10 crew members, according to BuzzFeed News. Update: On Thursday morning, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed with the Associated Press that the EgyptAir plane has crashed. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with AP, said the "possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed," since flight MS804 never arrived at any of the airports. The officials told AP they will now be searching for debris from the plane.

EgyptAir tweeted updates from its Twitter account revealing details of the plane's disappearance. Flight MS804 was heading to Cairo when it lost contact with the radar at 2:45 a.m. Cairo time — roughly 8:45 p.m. EST in the U.S — according to EgyptAir's tweets. The flight reportedly took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport just after 11 p.m. local time (5 p.m EST).

Another tweet from EgyptAir revealed the plane was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet and began fading from the radar screens 10 miles after it entered Egyptian airspace; EgyptAir initially reported that the plane disappeared within 10 minutes of Egyptian airspace, but later corrected that it lost contact with the radar after entering Egyptian territory.

The plane had been flying in air for approximately three hours and 40 minutes before fading from the radar screens, according to BuzzFeed News. An online radar tracker revealed that flight MS804 was last seen crossing eastern Mediterranean waters. The EgyptAir media center will continue to publish live updates from its Twitter account. The company has reportedly sent out search and rescue teams to find the missing MS804 flight, according to one of its tweets.

The plane, EgyptAir A320, is a midsize plane that has 145 passenger seats. EgyptAir has contacted authorities to conduct a search and rescue mission to find the missing aircraft.

Ahmed Abdel, the vice-chairman of EgyptAir holding company, told CNN that there was no distress call made from the plane. However, contrary to what EgyptAir originally reported on Twitter, according to The Guardian, Abdel told CNN there were 66 people total on the flight: 56 passengers, five cabin crew members, three security personnel, and two cockpit crew members. EgyptAir has confirmed that there were 66 passengers total, including one child and two babies.

This particular flight between Paris and Cairo was the plane's fifth flight of the day, according to flight tracker information. Just because the flight lost communication with the radar after it had entered Egyptian airspace does not necessarily mean it was over land. In fact, since its last known location was over the Mediterranean Sea, that could mean that it was over water, as this graphic shows:

There are multiple ways for an airplane to communicate with aviation authorities at the airport. Because of this, and because the plane has been missing for more than three hours, experts told CNN that it is concerning the plane hasn't made other types of communication with the airport.

EgyptAir confirmed via Twitter that the pilot flying the A320 plane has a total of 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 on the same model of plane and the co-pilot had 2,766 hours.

The A320 plane was manufactured in 2003. The plane's manufacturer, Airbus, confirmed that it was aware of the plane's disappearance, but did not initially provide comment via Twitter.

More to come...