Debris found off Greek island in search for missing MS804

Updated: 2016-05-19 22:58


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Debris found off Greek island in search for missing MS804
The EgyptAir plane scheduled to make the following flight from Paris to Cairo, after flight MS804 disappeared from radar, taxies on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France, May 19, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - Aircraft debris has been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea, Greece's national broadcaster ERT reported.

Two orange plastic items have been located by Egyptian vessels about 230 miles south of Crete, the Greek state TV said, citing Greek Defense Ministry sources.

Earlier Defense Minister Panos Kammenos had said that the plane had made abrupt swerves and lost altitude within Egyptian airspace.

"The plane was southeast of Kassos and Karpathos islands. It had entered Egyptian airspace when it turned 90 degrees to the left and then 360 degrees to the right," Kammenos told an emergency press briefing broadcast on national television.

According to the Greek official the flight MS804 suddenly descended from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet and then 10,000 feet while it was about 10 miles within the Egyptian airspace.

Greece's Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) had announced shortly earlier that Greek authorities did not receive a distress call.

The Airbus A320, which was carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo, has disappeared from Egyptian air space after flying over the Greek airspace.

The flight MS804 entered the Greek airspace at 02:24 am local time (2324 GMT, May 18), according to the press statement.

During the last contact of the plane's pilot with Greek air traffic controllers at 02:48 am local time while the Airbus was flying over the Greek island of Kos no problems were reported.

"The pilot was in a good mood and thanked in Greek," according to the statement.

The aircraft exited the Greek airspace, before suddenly disappearing from radar screens within Egyptian airspace at 03:29 am according to the Greek authorities.

Athens attempted to contact the plane at 03:27 am for the typical transfer of communication to Egyptian air traffic controllers, but there was no response, according to the official announcement.

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority, as well as Greece's Defense Ministry, have not confirmed local media reports that the captain of a passenger vessel reported a flash in the sky about 130 nautical miles off the Greek island of Karpathos, Greek national news agency ANA-MPA stressed.

Hellenic Navy vessels and aircraft are assisting in the search operations after being alerted at 03:45 am, according to a Defense Ministry announcement.

"Greece is by Egypt's side, Hellenic Air Force and Navy assist the search and rescue mission by all means," tweeted the Greek Foreign Ministry.