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A distress signal was issued "in the vicinity" of where the missing EgyptAir flight MS 804 disappeared while travelling from Paris to Cairo above the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday.
The New York Times reported two security officials at Cairo International Airport saying the plane was presumed to have crashed, however the airline is still referring to the plane's plight as a "disappearance". Egyptian authorities have yet to offer a theory for why the plane disappeared from radar.
Authorities from Egypt and Greece have launched a search with planes and boats in the area the plane was last detected.
The Greek defence ministry said it was investigating an account from the captain of a merchant ship that he saw a 'flame in the sky' around 240 kilometres south of the Greek island of Karpathos.
In a statement, Egypt's civil aviation ministry said it was too early to confirm the plane had crashed.
A child and two babies are among the 66 people on board the Airbus A320, which disappeared from radar shortly after entering Egyptian airspace, EgyptAir said on Thursday.
Flight MS804 took off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 11.09pm on Wednesday local time (7.09am AEDT), and was scheduled to land in Cairo at 3.15am on Thursday.
Ahmed Adel, the vice-chairman of EgyptAir, confirmed that 56 passengers and 10 crew members were on board at the time the plane disappeared.
EgyptAir flight MS804 was travelling between Paris and Cairo when it vanished from radar. Photo: flightradar24
The passengers, including 53 adults, two infants and one child, are from 12 countries. Most of the passengers are from Egypt, with 30 citizens on board, while 15 are from France.
Two of the passengers are from Iraq, and one passenger each from Britain, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal and Algeria.
A total crew of 10 is on board, including two cockpit crew, five cabin crew and three security staff.
The EgyptAir aircraft that was hijacked during a flight from Alexandria to Cairo in March. Photo: AP
EgyptAir said the plane's last known position was above the Mediterranean Sea about 280 kilometres from the Egyptian coast.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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