- EgyptAir flight MS804 vanished over the Med at 00.30am GMT after leaving Paris at 9.09pm GMT on Wednesday
- Airline said contact was lost with plane 10 miles into Egyptian air space about 40 minutes before it was due to land
- Airbus A320 was flying at 37,000ft and did not make a distress call before it disappeared off radar, officials say
- There were 56 passengers on board including one Briton, 30 Egyptians, 15 French and one Canadian and 10 crew
- Major search operation underway as former air crash investigation chief says it is ‘very probably an attack’
An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea with 66 people on board was very likely brought down by a terror attack, experts said today.
The Airbus A320 left the French capital’s Charles De Gaulle Airport at 9.09pm GMT last night before coming down off the Greek island of Karpathos ten miles into Egyptian airspace at around 00.30am. Officials said there was no distress call.
There were 56 passengers on board including one Briton, 30 Egyptians, 15 French, one Belgian, one Iraqi, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi Arabian, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian. There were 10 crew on flight MS804 including three security guards.
Jean-Paul Troadec, the former chief of the BEA national investigation unit, said the lack of a live emergency alert suggested a ‘brutal event’.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) May 19, 2016
He told Europe 1 radio station in Paris: ‘A technical problem, a fire or a failed motor do not cause an instant accident and the team has time to react.
‘The team said nothing, they did not react, so it was very probably a brutal event and we can certainly think about an attack.’
His comments came after a captain on board a merchant ship reported seeing a ‘flame in the sky’ over the Mediterranean.
France called a crisis meeting of top ministers as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said ‘no theory can be ruled out’ to explain the plane’s disappearance.
ISIS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces and last October claimed the bombing of a Russian airliner flying home holidaymakers from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh which killed all 224 people on board.
The flight was the aircraft’s fifth of the day, having also flown to the Eritrean capital of Asmara, the Tunisian capital Tunis and Brussels in Belgium.
Devastated relatives wept and comforted each other as they gathered at Charles De Gaulle and Cairo Airports waiting for news of their loved ones.
The British Foreign Office said it was in contact with the family of a British national feared dead.
EgyptAir first reported on the disappearance of the flight, tweeting: ‘An informed source at EGYPTAIR stated that Flight no MS804,which departed Paris at 9.09pm (GMT), heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar.’