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"We stand corrected" - Airline vice-president says debris from missing plane has NOT been found

More than 60 people were on board the Paris to Cairo plane.

Updated 10.35pm

egypt The moment the flight disappeared from radar - just after entering Egyptian airspace (marked by the red line; the purple line marks the flight path) Source: FlightRadar

WRECKAGE FROM THE missing EgyptAir plane has not been located, the airline vice-president has said. 

Speaking to CNN, EgyptAir’s Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel said debris from the missing flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo had not been found.

“We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane,” Adel said.

So the search and rescue is still going on.

It emerged earlier today that the missing plane fell 22,000 feet and swerved sharply in Egyptian airspace before it vanished from radar screens.

Greece’s Defence Minister says that the plane with 66 people on board lost altitude sharply before they lost radar contact.

Earlier this evening, EgyptAir said that the wreckage of the aircraft had been found:

The airline said that family members of passengers and crew had been informed.

However, following this the head of the Greek air safety authority told AFP that wreckage found in the Mediterranean close to where an EgyptAir passenger jet is thought to have crashed “does not come from a plane”.

“Up to now the analysis of the debris indicates that it does not come from a plane, my Egyptian counterpart also confirmed to me that it was not yet proven that the debris came from the EgyptAir flight when we were last in contact around 17.45 GMT,” Athanasios Binis told AFP.

What was found was a piece of wood, and some materials that do not come from a plane.

The latest is is that the Egyptian investigation team, in co-operation with its Greek counterpart, is still searching for the remains of the missing plane.

Ninety-degree turn

Earlier today, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos told a news conference:

The plane carried out a 90-degree turn to the left and a 360-degree turn to the right, falling from 37,000 to 15,000 feet and the signal was lost at around 10,000 feet.

It is believed flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed into the sea between the Greek islands and the Egyptian coast.

The Egyptian army also confirmed it lost radar contact after entering the country’s airspace. According to the airline, there are 56 passengers on board including one child and two infants.

There are also three EgyptAir personnel and seven cabin crew registered on the flight.

Mideast Egypt Plane Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail talks to reporters at Cairo International Airport.

In a press conference this morning, French President Francois Hollande said that the plane had “crashed”.

“We must ensure that we know everything on the causes of what happened. No hypothesis is ruled out or favoured,” he said in a televised address.

Whether it was an accident or another hypothesis that everyone has on their mind — a terrorist hypothesis… at this stage we must focus on our solidarity with the families and the search for the causes of the catastrophe.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said its accident department had opened an investigation into the crash.

Disappeared from contact 

The flight was expected to land in Cairo at 3.15am (local time, 2.15am Irish time) but disappeared from contact about 280km from the Egyptian coast at 2.30am (local time).

Contrary to earlier reports, an official has now said the last communication with the pilot was three minutes before the plane disappeared, and that there had been no distress call.

EgyptAir Holding Company vice president Ahmed Adel also said there had been “no distress call” before it vanished. EgyptAir had said military search and rescue had detected a “distress message,” but the army denied detecting any such message.

Special teams from the armed forces were deployed to the site for inspection.

A dedicated helpline has been set up for family members to check on their relatives.

The airline has confirmed that the nationalities on board the flight include 15 French, 30 Egyptian, a Briton, a Belgian, two Iraqis, a Kuwaiti, a Canadian, a Chadian, a Sudanese, a Portuguese, an Algerian and one Saudi.

An airline statement said: “The cause of the airplane’s disappearance is not yet known.”

Speaking after the news emerged, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said “no theory can be ruled out”.

President Francois Hollande called his Egyptian counterpart and the leaders agreed to “cooperate closely” to establish what happened.

He also set up a crisis unit of his own ministers in Paris. Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Ismail told reporters “we can’t preclude or confirm anything yet,” when asked if the flight could have been attacked.

With reporting by AFP, Aoife Barry and Cormac Fitzgerald

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