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Crash: Egypt A320 over Mediterranean on May 19th 2016, aircraft found crashed, ACARS messages indicate fire on board
|By Simon Hradecky, created Thursday, May 19th 2016 03:35Z, last updated Friday, May 20th 2016 18:23Z
An Egyptair Airbus A320-200, registration SU-GCC performing flight MS-804 (dep May 18th) from Paris Charles de Gaulle (France) to Cairo (Egypt) with 56 passengers and 10 crew, was enroute at FL370 over the Mediterranan Sea about 130nm north of Alexandria (Egypt) and about 210nm northnorthwest of Cairo when the transponder signals of the aircraft ceased at 02:33L (00:33Z). The aircraft was located crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, there were no survivors.
Search and Recovery
On May 19th 2016 France is joining the search and rescue efforts dispatching ships and aircraft into the search area, which is already being scanned by Greek and Egypt aircraft and ships.
On May 19th 2016 a good number of civilian ships in the area have, according to MarineTraffic, veered off their intended courses and are now steaming towards a common position at approximately N33.4 E29.7 approximately 30nm eastnortheast of the last ADS-B position. A first ship “Oceanus” has already reached that position and is nearly stationary there.
On May 20th morning Egypt’s Military announced, Egyptian naval aircraft and vessels found debris from the A320 aircraft as well as personal belongings of passengers about 290km (156nm) north of Alexandria (Egypt).
On May 20th European Space Agency (ESA) reported Sentinel-1A radar satellite images showed a 2km long slick at position N33.5333 E29.2167, about 40km/21.6nm from the last transponder position, coinciding with the suspected area of impact of flight MS-804. The photo was taken on May 19th 2016 at 16:00Z. Image below.
In the afternoon of May 20th 2016 Egyptair reported that more debris has been found during the day including body parts, passengers’ belongings, aircraft seats.
On May 19th 2016 at 05:00L (03:00Z) the airline reported, that flight MS-804, estimated to land in Cairo at 03:10L (01:10Z), is missing and so far has not landed at any airport in reach of the aircraft. Egyptair subsequently tweeted that the aircraft was enroute at FL370 about to enter Egyptian Airspace when radar contact with the aircraft was lost at 02:45L (00:45Z). A search and rescue operation has been launched. The airline further corrected initial statement of 59 passengers to 56 passengers actually on board of the aircraft. The commander had accumulated 6,275 hours with 2,101 hours on type, the first officer has accumulated 2,675 hours. The aircraft had been manufactured in 2003. The airline has opened hotlines for relatives at +202 25989320 (outside Egypt) and 080077770000 (landline in Egypt).
On May 19th 2016 at about 07:40L (05:40Z) Egyptair updated their statement saying, that the contact with the aircraft was lost 280km (151nm) from the Coast of Egypt at 02:30L (00:30Z). The crew comprised the captain, first officer, 5 cabin crew and 3 sky marshals. Amongst the passengers there were 30 Egyptians, 15 French, 2 Iraqis, 1 British, 1 Belgian, 1 Kuwaiti, 1 Saudi, 1 Sudanese, 1 Chadian, 1 Portugese, 1 Algerian and 1 Canadian.
On May 19th 2016 Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority reported radar contact with the aircraft was lost about 2 minutes after the aircraft was handed off from Greek to Egyptian Air Traffic Control. The crew did not report any problems up to hand off. The CAA subsequently clarified, that the crew was talking to air traffic control in Greek when the aircraft entered the Greek control zone. When ATC attempted to hand the aircraft off to Egypt the crew did not respond, radar contact was lost 2 minutes after the first attempt to raise the crew for hand off, the aircraft was 7nm past mandatory reporting point KUMBI (N33.7139 E28.7500), boundary between Greek and Egyptian control zone.
On May 19th 2016 at 08:25L (06:25Z) Egypt Air reported that search and rescue have picked up an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal. Dawn in the area was at 04:26L.
On May 19th 2016 at 10:15L (08:15Z) Airbus posted “Airbus regrets to confirm that an A320 operated by Egyptair was lost at around 02:30 am (Egypt local time) today over the Mediterranean sea. The aircraft was operating a scheduled service, Flight MS 804 from Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt. The aircraft involved, registered under SU-GCC was MSN (Manufacturer Serial Number) 2088 delivered to Egyptair from the production line in November 2003. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 48,000 flight hours. It was powered by IAE engines. At this time no further factual information is available.”
On May 19th 2016 at 12:30L (10:30Z) France’s President Hollande announced that the aircraft has crashed while flying over the Mediterranean Sea in Egyptian Airspace.
On May 19th 2016 Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister said in a press conference, Egypt continues to call the aircraft “missing”. The Government does not rule out any cause as of yet, neither mechanical failure nor terrorism.
On May 19th 2016 at 14:55L (12:55Z) Greek Authorities reported that search aircraft have spotted two objects floating on the sea surface about 50nm south of the last transponder position and about 230nm southsoutheast of Crete (Greece). The objects were white and red and appeared to be made of plastics. Authorities subsequently reported two orange objects also seen appear to be aircraft life vests, position near N33.3 E29.9 (about 40nm east of last transponder position).
On May 19th 2016 at 19:10L (17:10Z) Egyptair confirmed that according to Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (parts of) the wreckage have been located crashed in the Mediterranean Sea. Families of passengers and crew have been informed, the airline expresses their deepest sympathies. The Egyptian Investigation Team continues to search for other remains of the aircraft.
On May 20th 2016 about 00:00L Christiane Amanpour (CNN) tweeted that Egyptair’s Vice President retracted the statement, that debris of the aircraft had been found and said they were mistaken. However, Egyptair did not retract such statements on all their official outlets, on their main website the statement was reposted instead with timestamp May 20th 2016.
On May 19th 2016 the responsible Paris states attorney has opened an investigation into the disappearance of the aircraft but cautioned, that a mechanical failure or other causes besides terrorism have not been ruled out at this point. No credible claims of downing the aircraft have been made so far.
On May 20th 2016 Egypt’s Authorities reported that an accident investigation commission has been formed to investigate the crash.
On May 20th 2016 the French BEA reported 3 investigators have been dispatched to Egypt by the BEA to join the investigation led by Egyptian Authorities.
On May 20th 2016 The Aviation Herald received information from three independent channels, that ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) messages with following content were received from the aircraft:
00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW
Sentinel-1A radar satellite image showing 2km long slick (Photo: ESA):
Debris seen from search ship Maersk Ahram (Photos: Tarek Wahba):
A number of ships left intended course towards a common position (Graphics: MarineTraffic):
Infrared Satellite Image Seviri May 19th 2016 00:00Z (Photo: AVH/Meteosat):
Map and flight trajectory based on Mode-S transponder signals (Graphics: AVH/Google Earth):