Egyptair Flight MS804, which was headed to Cairo from Paris with 66 passengers and crew on board, including a Canadian, crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday morning, say officials.
The flight departed from Charles de Gaulle Airport late Tuesday night with 56 passengers – including one Canadian – and 10 crew members on board. The airline initially said 69 people were on board.
The company said the Airbus A320 was travelling at an altitude of 37,000 feet and disappeared 10 minutes after entering Egyptian airspace, around 280 kilometres off the country’s coastline north of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.
Egypt’s state-run newspaper Al-Ahram quoted an airport official as saying the pilot did not send a distress call prior to the crash.
Search and rescue teams have begun to search for the aircraft.
Ihab Raslan, a spokesman for the Egyptian civil aviation agency, told SkyNews Arabia that the plane most likely crashed into the sea.
The airline said the pilot of Flight MS804 had more than 6,000 flying hours.
The airline issued a list of the nationalities of the passengers on board. It included one Canadian.
In addition to the unidentified Canadian, EgyptAir also said there were 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese and one Algerian.
Global Affairs Canada said it was “aware of the possibility that a Canadian may have been on board the flight” and that the department was “monitoring the situation closely.” The statement added that Canadian officials in Cairo and Paris are working with local authorities to confirm this information.
An EgyptAir plane was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus in March. A man who admitted to the hijacking and is described by Cypriot authorities as “psychologically unstable” is in custody in Cyprus.
The incident renewed security concerns months after a Russian passenger plane was blown out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula. The Russian plane crashed in Sinai on Oct. 31, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for planting it.
In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 1990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard, U.S. investigators filed a final report that concluded its co-pilot switched off the autopilot and pointed the Boeing 767 downward. But Egyptian officials rejected the notion of suicide altogether, insisting some mechanical reason caused the crash.
With files from Kevin Nielsen and Jon Azpiri, Global News