An EgyptAir flight headed to Cairo from Paris late Wednesday made "sudden swerves" before apparently crashing into the Mediterranean Sea halfway between Egypt and Greece, authorities said early Thursday.
Aboard were 56 passengers -- including one child and two babies -- from more than a dozen nations and 10 crew members, the airline reported on Twitter.
Possible debris was found 230 nautical miles west of Crete, various media reported.
"The possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem],” Egypt’s aviation minister, Sherif Fathy, told reporters.
The French-made Airbus A320 took a 90-degree swerve left, dropping from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet, before swerving 360 degrees right, said Panos Kammeno, Greece's defense minister.
Specialized units and the Egyptian military, joined by Greek responders, began searching onveright about 175 miles north of the Egyptian coast, EgyptAir tweeted.
A question remained of where exactly an electronic distress signal came from that was received by the Egyptian Armed Forces in the vicinity of the suspected crash site nearly two hours after the flight went missing.
"An informed source at EGYPTAIR stated that Flight no MS804, which departed Paris at 23:09 (CEST) heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar," EgyptAir tweeted at 10:57 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
"EGYPTAIR A320 was [cruising] at a height of 37.000ft, and disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace within 10 miles," read an 11:41 p.m. tweet.
The Airbus A320, built in 2003, left Charles De Gaulle Airport and lost contact with the tracking system a little over 3½ hours later -- at 8:30 p.m. EST -- the airline reported.
The New York Times quoted Ehab Mohy el-Deen, director of Egypt’s air navigation authority, as saying "they did not radio for help or lose altitude. They just vanished.”
EGYPTAIR hosted the passengers' families near to Cairo Airport -- providing doctors, translators and all the necessary services -- and then put them on its first flight out of De Gaulle on Thursday.
It reported the passengers' nationalities as 30 Egyptian, 15 French, 2 Iraqi and one each: Algerian, Belgian, British, Canadian, Chadian, Kuwati, Portugese, Saudi and Sudanese.
"Noteworthy that the aircraft pilot has 6275 of flying hours including 2101 flying hours on Airbus 320," EgyptAir reported. As for the co-pilot he has 2766 flying hours,"
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