It's an aerospace and aircraft maintenance engineer's worst nightmare. An Airbus 320 belonging to EgyptAir has gone down in the Mediterranean Sea. At around 2:30 a.m. Cairo time (UCT +2), the plane disappeared from radar tracking and by 4:26 a.m. the rescue operations received a distress signal from the plane's emergency devices. MS804 was being tracked by Greek air traffic controllers who said they had spoken to the pilot and ensured that everything was in order and then an hour later the plane made a sharp left turn and then a 360-degree spin to the right. The plane had taken off from France at around 11 p.m. and headed for Egypt.
There is a list of things that could have gone wrong but what engineers are hoping is not true, is that the plane went down for mechanical reasons or for maintenance reasons.
Rescue operations started off the Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace.
Airbus confirmed the following facts on their Facebook page:
- The aircraft was delivered to Egyptair in November 2003
-Accumulated 48,000 flight hours
-Powered by IAE engines
Egyptian prime minister, Sherif Ismail, a former engineer, said it was too early to say whether or not the crash was linked to terrorism or if it was a mechanical failure that took the plane down.
Associated Press reported that Russia's domestic security chief says structural failure was unlikely. Major General Robert Latiff, who is an expert on aerospace systems and emerging weapons technologies at the University of Notre Dame said the chance of structural failure was: "vanishingly improbable."
Later on in the day, Egypt's aviation minister spoke to media and said that the possibility of a terror attack as a cause for the Egyptair crash was "stronger" than technical failure.
Greek sources had confirmed that they saw "large floating objects" in the ocean and were going to investigate further.
Bloomberg reported at 6:22 p.m. UCT+2 that they had also joined the search for MS804, a report that was preceded by a Reuters report that airplane lifejackets had been found by search teams that were investigating in the area.
CNN was the first news agency to lead with headlines that mentioned any form of bombs possibly taking the plane down. The @cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News) Twitter page wrote: "2 U.S. officials: Initial government theory is that EgyptAir Flight 804 was taken down by a bomb"
The plane had 66 people on board who have been presumed dead, according to Egyptian aviation authorities.
More news on the engineering aspects of the crash will follow as that information becomes available.