It’s tempting to speculate that the loss of Egyptair MS804, an A320, was caused by sabotage because that’s what happened to the Metrojet flight out of Sharm el-Sheikh last year.
But, in the last decade, several aircraft have quietly gone missing during cruising flight without being brought down by explosives or in-flight break-up. The most obvious example was an Air France A330 that went missing in the south Atlantic in 2009, but there are others. And there is no information yet which would rule in or rule out either of those scenarios.
Greece’s Defence Minister Panos Kammenos has told a news conference that soon after entering Egyptian airspace, the A320 had turned “90 degrees left and 360 degrees to the right” before descending and disappearing off radar at 15,000ft. If that information is confirmed – and I have no reason to doubt it – the flight had clearly been destabilised, but the cause of the destabilisation is not known.
The aircraft’s last known position is over the Mediterranean south-east of Crete and south-west of Cyprus, but still more than 100nm off Egypt’s northern coast. Fairly soon some useful information is likely to become available because several military units – ships and aircraft – have been committed to a search of the area.
If, for example, there is a floating wreckage field and it is very widely dispersed, it will suggest an in-flight break-up.
But breakup can happen for reasons other than an explosion – although history and modern experience says that’s highly unlikely.
The aircraft and its “black box” recorders are almost certain to be found because, after other aircraft losses in the sea, recorders have been recovered in working condition from deeper waters than this.
5 thoughts on “Missing Egyptair flight MS804”
Excellent and well reasoned summary of the situation to date.
Whatever the cause, I am so very, very sorry for Egyptair and the tourist trade in Egypt …
Dreadful and tragic business all round …
Best wishes Reg Pycroft
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What causes a jet to do two rapid turns and drop 15000 feet so rapidly on a night with perfect flying conditions?
Probably holding the side stick back for no reason for a few minutes would do it.
I think it’s getting too late now to have been a terrorist act. If it was surely some group would have excitedly claimed it by now