Thursday, May 19, 2016

UPDATED: MS804, another MH370?

This is developing news, so I'll update this post tonight or tomorrow, but want to put out a first thought.

AP reports that an EgyptAir Airbus 320, operating flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo with 66 pax and crew on board, crashed in the Mediterranean early this morning. French President Fran├žois Hollande told the mdia, "Unfortunately the information we have...confirms to us that the plane came down and is lost. No hypothesis can be ruled out, nor can any be favoured over another."

Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister, Sherif Fathy, takes a different position. While not yet confirming that the plane crashed, he said that the possibility of a terror attack as the cause of the plane's disappearance from the radar screens is "stronger" than a technical failure.

Here's what we know so far. Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said the plane was about 10 to 15 miles inside Egyptian airspaqce when it made two abrupt turns and suddenly lost altitude before disappearing from radar. "It turned 90 degrees left and then a 360-degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet."

Haven't we seen this movie before, just over two years ago? Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was heading northeast towards Beijing when it abruptly made a 90-degree turn to the west-northwest, then (according to the searchers' hypothesis), made a further turn towards the southwest and disappeared into the Indian Ocean somewhere off the west coast of Australia.

Regular readers of WWW will know that Walt does not agree with the theory that MH370, whether controlled or uncontrolled, slowly flew into the sea. But supposing the "experts" are correct, that's what seems to have happened to MS804. The search for wreckage is under way. Stay tuned.

UPDATED at 1225. A couple of lifejackets and some other debris has been found off the coast of the Greek island of Crete. Given that Crete is some distance north of the last known location of MS804, Walt thinks it's more likely this junk came from boats carrying "refugees". More later.

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