There Were No Americans On EgyptAir Flight MS804

by Joseph D. Lyons

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar early Thursday while at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. There was no distress call to air traffic controllers and the plane did not lose altitude. It just vanished. Egyptian aviation officials have confirmed the plane crashed, the Associated Press reported, and now the search for debris has begun. Meanwhile the family of the 66 passengers and crew that were on board the plane await news of their loved ones. The airline released a breakdown of the passenger's nationalities in a statement. There were no Americans on EgyptAir flight MS804.

The majority of the passengers were Egyptian, a total of 30, which combined with the seven crew members and three security personnel, would make the Egypt the country seeing the largest number of losses. Another 15 were French. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and French President François Hollande have already spoken and have decided that the two countries will work together to establish the cause of the disappearance.

The other 11 people were from around the globe, from at least four continents. One was North American; EgyptAir said via Twitter that there was one Canadian on the flight. Several more were European; there was one passenger each from the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Portugal. Passengers from Africa and the Middle East numbered seven with passengers from Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, and Algeria. There was one child and two infants on the flight; the airline did not specify their nationalities.

The search for wreckage has also been a multinational one. The Egyptian military sent aircraft and navy ships to search for the plane in cooperation with Greece. The plane disappeared just over the line into Egyptian airspace, but not far from the Greek island of Karpathos. Greece sent two aircraft, two helicopters and a frigate.

MarineTraffic, a website that tracks ships, has put together a video of the merchant ships in the Mediterranean that are also joining the search for wreckage. At least eight ships in the area have switched course to help look for the missing plane.

Meanwhile, families are waiting at Cairo's international airport to hear more news. They were shepherded into a separate area and security officials attempted to keep journalists from filming or interviewing them. Doctors were brought to the scene after several family members collapsed.

In Paris, relatives began to arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport, where many said goodbye just hours before. EgyptAir will provide flights Thursday afternoon for any family members that wish to go to Cairo, France's foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said.