Terrorist attack as possible cause of tragedy over Mediterranean Sea
An Airbus A320 that belonged to EgyptAir, disappeared from radars yesterday on its way from Paris to Cairo.
There were 66 people on board, including 15 French, 30 Egyptian citizens, a citizen of Great Britain, one citizen of Belgium, two Iraqis, two citizens of Kuwait, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, one Sudanese, a citizen of Chad, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian citizen.
According to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, there was no information about Russians on board the aircraft. "No information about Russian citizens among the passengers of the disappeared airliner that was on route from Paris-Cairo, she announced and expressed condolences to the countries and people who were affected by the tragedy.
The aircraft took off from the Charles de Gaulle at 23:09 (0:09 Moscow time) and it was to land in Cairo at 3:15 am (4:15 am Moscow time), but at 2:30 am (3:30 Moscow time) the aircraft disappeared from radar screens at a distance of 280 km from the coast of Egypt.
Al-Ahram [Egyptian newspaper] reported with reference to its sources that the crew was in contact with the ground services 10 minutes before the aircraft disappeared.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation of Egypt claimed that at 4:26 (5:26 Moscow time) the automatic system of the aircraft send a distress signal, but later the Egyptian military reported that no signals were recorded.
The government of Egypt has begun to gather information on technical condition of the aircraft. At the same time CNN reported with reference to sources in the company that the plane has recently passed all the necessary tests, RIA Novosti informs.
Weather conditions in this region were favorable. According to the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), there were no problems in this regard.
Despite that the investigation is still underway, the Egyptian authorities have already begun to prepare for the worst. "The probability that the plane crashed is being confirmed," one of the representatives of the Egyptian aviation said.
Some time later, Francois Hollande, stated that the liner crashed, noting that the aircraft was "destroyed" in the Mediterranean Sea. He also expressed hope that the wreckage will help determine the cause of the crash.
As for the causes of the crash of the liner, Prime Minister of Egypt Sherif Ismail said that the version of the attack is being considered as the most likely one, adding that it is "stronger" reason than technical problems. At the same time, he noted that "it is too early to announce what caused the disappearance of the aircraft."
The head of Russian Federal Security Service Vladimir Bortnikov also sticks to the version of the attack. "Unfortunately, another incident with the participation of the Egyptian aircraft took place today. Apparently, it was a terrorist attack due to which 66 people from 12 countries were killed,'' he said.
Bortnikov urged all interested parties, "including European partners to join efforts in identifying those who were involved in this heinous act."
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent telegrams to the leaders of France and Egypt, Francois Hollande, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the President's press-service reports. He expressed his condolences and support to the families and friends of the victims and wished them to be courageous and strong in the hour of loss and grief.
Condolences were expressed by chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. She asked the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of Egypt, Ali Abdel Al Sayyid Ahmed, to pass on her words of sympathy and support to the families and relatives of the victims.
President's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that it is premature to tie the incident with the possible resumption of air links between Russia and Egypt. "It is impossible to say anything now, we do not know what caused this tragedy. We have just found the place where the aircraft crashed that is why it would be absolutely wrong to say anything now,'' he said.