- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar Thursday morning, with 56 passengers and 10 crew aboard.

EgyptAir said “flight number MS804 lost contact with radar at 02:45 Cairo time” Thursday, which would be 8:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Egyptian naval and air assets were conducting searches Thursday morning.

The flight, an Airbus A320 made in 2003, disappeared from radar while flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet about 10 miles after having entered Egyptian airspace, EgyptAir said.

An airline official told CNN the departure from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport was uneventful and there was no special cargo on board. According to EgyptAir, the captain has 6,275 flying hours, including 2,101 on the A320.

There was no indication that EgyptAir or any civil air authority had received any distress calls or other indication of mechanical trouble. There were no reports of bad weather and there is no terrain over the Mediterranean Sea as the plane would be approaching Egypt.

Juliette Kayem, CNN national-security analyst, said that these absences implied terrorism.

“The height of the airplane with no record of any distress calls from the pilot or the plane … is reflective of previous terrorist attacks,” she said.

“I’m not saying I know what it was. These are just data points,” she cautioned. But “I would definitely start from the assumption [that] something bad, something nefarious happened.”

Mary Schiavo, a former Transportation Department inspector general, spoke similarly, telling CNN “one can logically assume at this point there’s trouble.”

Sky News Arabia reported that “Egyptian aviation authorities [have] raised the alert level at Cairo airport.” Families of people aboard the flight were gathering there Thursday morning. 

Both France and Egypt have had their transportation networks attacked by Islamic State and allied terrorists in recent years, ranging from a lone jihadist going on a knife rampage on a French train to the shooting down of a Russian airliner leaving an Egyptian resort.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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