Terrorism 'Likely' Cause Of Egypt Air Crash
NEW DELHI: An EgyptAir plane -- Flight MS804 -- was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew when it vanished early on Thursday. 66 people were on board the plane -- 56 passengers, seven crew and three security personnel.
At the time of writing, no debris found has been confirmed as belonging to the plane -- which disappeared off radars over Greece. Greek, Egyptian, French and UK military units are taking part in the operation near Greece's Karpathos island. Greece said radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
Egypt has said that the likely cause of the plane’s crash is terrorism, as opposed to a technical glitch or fault.
Egypt’s aviation minister, Sherif Fathi, although adding that he did not want to prematurely draw conclusions, said: “The possibility of having a different action or a terror attack, is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.”
France -- that is involved in the search operations -- said no theory could yet be ruled out. The information we have gathered confirms, alas, that this plane has crashed, and it has disappeared,” the French president, François Hollande, said. “We have a duty to know everything about the cause and what has happened,” he added. “No theory is ruled out and none is certain right now.”
Soon after the crash reports surfaced that debris from the plane had been found in the sea south of the Greek island of Karpathos. This was discovered on Thursday as a a Greek frigate noticed two plastic objects floating about 230 miles south-east of the island of Crete. EgyptAir tweeted that the objects were debris from the missing plane, but soon retracted the tweet. “We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane,” the airline’s vice-president, Ahmed Adel, told CNN.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s office issued a statement saying that the civil aviation ministry, the army’s search and rescue centre, the navy, and air force will take all necessary measures to locate the debris, adding that an investigative committee formed by the civil aviation ministry will immediately start investigating the causes of the plane’s disappearance.
“EgyptAir sincerely conveys its deepest sorrow to the families and friends of the passengers on board flight MS804. Family members of passengers and crew have been already informed and we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected,” EgyptAir said in a statement.
Egypt has been targeted by terror groups, with a crash in October last year being possibly linked to an act of terror. A Metrojet Airbus A321 was flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, when it crashed 23 minutes into the flight, killing 224 people on board.
A group claiming to speak on behalf of the Islamic State (also known as Daesh), posted an online statement saying: “Soldiers of the caliphate were able to bring down a Russian plane above Sinai province.”
Whether that claim was true or not, investigators looked into the possibility of a bomb bringing down the plane.
The crashes are all part of a bad few years in aviation.
In addition to the above, recent crashes include:
March 2016: A Flydubai plane crashed killing 62 people. At 2237, at Rostov-on-Don, the crew aborted a landing attempt to Runway 22 due to poor weather conditions. The plane was instructed to enter a holding pattern at 15,000 feet where it remained for a little under two hours. During a second landing attempt, at 3.4 miles from the runway and an altitude of 1,500 feet the crew executed a second go around and climbed to 3,975 feet, after which, the plane went out of control in a nose down attitude and hit the runway at high rate of speed and disintegrated. All 55 passengers and crew of 7 were killed.
February 2016: A Tara Air operated plane - Flight 193 - crashed in the mountainous northern region of Nepal half-way through a 20 minute flight to Jomsom. The plane was relatively new. There was wind and dense fog at the time of the accident. 23 people were killed.
October 2015: 224 people died in the Metrojet (Kogalymavia) crash. Approximate 25 minutes after taking off from Sharem el Sheikh airport, radar contact was lost with the airliner. Wreckage was found near Hasna in the north Sinai. The aircraft was flying at about 30,000 feet when contact with the plane was lost. This is the 27th worst accident in aviation history. The aircraft was brought down by a homemade explosive device.
August 2015: 54 people died in the Trigana Air Service - Flight 267 - crash over Tangok mountain, Papua. The passenger plane crashed into Tangok mountain located in a remote area of Papua's eastern province. There was no distress call from the aircraft. High winds and heavy rain was reported in the accident area.
March 2015: A Germanwings plane with 150 people on board crashed over the French Alps on its from Barcelona to Dusseldorf on March 25. Evidence suggests that co-pilot Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane, killing himself and the 149 people on board.
December 2014: Air Asia QZ8501 disappeared en route to Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia, with 162 people on board. Debris from the plane was located off the coast of Borneo soon after, with all passengers declared dead.
August 2014: an Iranian-built Sepahan Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport. 39 people died.
July 2014: an Air Algerie MD-83 passenger aircraft dropped off the radar and crashed while flying over Mali, en route to Algiers from the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou. All 116 occupants were killed.
July 2014: TransAsia Airways ATR 72-500 crashed near Magong Airport in Taiwan on July 23, with 48 passengers and crew dying after the plane missed its first runway approach. Miraculously 10 people survived the crash.
July 2014: MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The shooting-down escalated tensions between between Russia, which supports the pro-independence rebels in Ukraine’s east, and United States-led Western power that back the government in Kiev.
The tensions are linked to ambiguity regarding the circumstances that led to the plane’s crash, with Kiev releasing an audio of what it says are intercepted telephone conversations between rebels and Russian military intelligence officers during which the former admit to shooting down a plane. Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic denied involvement, saying instead that a Ukrainian air force jet had brought down the plane.
March 2014: MH370 disappeared in March, and extensive search efforts followed. The flight’s disappearance is considered one of the biggest aviation mysteries, with evidence suggesting that the plane’s communication systems were “deliberately disabled,” leading to various theories including terrorist involvement or a potential hijack.
February 2014: a Nepal Airlines Twin Otter aircraft crashed into a mountainside near Sandhikhark, Nepal, on February 16, killing all 18 on-board.