Egypt Air passenger plane missing after vanishing from radar screens

5.30PM | An EgyptAir passenger plane with 66 people on board is feared to have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after vanishing from radar while en route from Paris to Egypt.

Egypt Air Flight MS804 departed Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, bound for Cairo, at 11.09pm local time Wednesday (7.09am Thursday AEST) with a total of 66 people on board – 56 passengers, three security guards and seven crew members.

The Airbus 320 vanished from radar screens at 02:30am local time (10:30am AEST).


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Egypt Air confirmed the passenger jet had dropped off radar while flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,280 metres) above the Mediterranean Sea, about 280 kilometres north of the Egyptian coastline.

The plane, which was manufactured in 2003, was in Egyptian airspace at the time.

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The aircraft had travelled 10 miles or 16 kilometres through Egyptian airspace before it lost contact with air traffic control, Egypt Air said.

Among the 56 passengers on board were a child and two infants.

Egypt Air released a list of the nationalities of the passengers on board, none of whom were from Australia.

They included 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one British, one Belgium, one Kuwaiti, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.

The Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry says they received an automated distress signal from the aircraft at 4.26am local time – two hours after Egypt Air said the plane disappeared.

The automatic distress signal – not a distress call – is thought to have been emitted from an emergency locator beacon.

Egyptian aviation officials have since confirmed the aircraft did indeed crash into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Airbus 320 was due to arrive at Cairo Airport at 3:15am local time.

A major sea and air search is currently under way to locate the wreckage.

Egypt Air said earlier in a statement the pilot of the aircraft had 6275 hours of flying experience up his sleeve; his co-pilot had 2766.

The flight from Paris to Cairo usually takes three hours and 45 minutes.

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