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|CAIRO – An EgyptAir jetliner en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 people aboard swerved wildly in flight and crashed in the Mediterranean Sea early Thursday Jason Williams Jersey , authorities said. Egyptian and Russian officials said it may have been brought down by terrorists.
There were no signs of survivors.
EgyptAir Flight 804, an Airbus A320 with 56 passengers and 10 crew members, went down about halfway between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt’s coastline Grant Hill Jersey , or around 175 miles offshore, after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport, authorities said.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane spun all the way around and suddenly lost altitude just before vanishing from radar screens around 2:45 a.m. Cairo time (12:45 a.m. GMT).
He said it made a 90-degree left turn Shaquille O'Neal Jersey , then a full 360-degree turn toward the right, plummeting from 38,000 to 15 Vince Carter Jersey ,000 feet. It disappeared at about 10,000 feet, he said. There were no reports of stormy weather at the time.
Egyptian and Greek authorities in ships and planes searched the suspected crash area throughout the day for traces of the plane Dwight Howard Jersey , with help on the way from various other countries.
But as night fell, the searchers had yet to find any confirmed debris, at one point dismissing a reported sighting of life vests and other floating material.
Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi cautioned that the disaster was still under investigation but said the possibility it was a terror attack “is higher than the possibility of having a technical failure.”
Alexander Bortnikov Tracy Mcgrady Jersey , chief of Russia’s top domestic security agency, went further, saying: “In all likelihood it was a terror attack.”
There was no immediate claim from militants that they had downed the plane.
If it was terrorism Penny Hardaway Jersey , it would be the second deadly attack involving Egypt’s aviation industry in seven months.
Last October, a Russian passenger plane that took off from an Egyptian Red Sea resort crashed in the Sinai, killing all 224 people aboard. Russia said it was brought down by a bomb Orlando Magic Evan Fournier Jersey , and a local branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Thursday’s disaster also raises questions about security at De Gaulle Airport, at a time when Western Europe has been on high alert over the deadly Islamic extremist attacks in Paris and at the Brussels airport and subway over the past six months.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that airport security had been tightened considerably before the disaster, in particular because of the coming European soccer championship Orlando Magic Aaron Gordon Jersey , which France is hosting.
The plane’s erratic course raised a number of possibilities, including a catastrophic mechanical or structural failure, a bombing Evan Fournier Magic Jersey , or a struggle over the controls with a hijacker in the cockpit.