Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi speaks at a press conference about the early Thursday morning crash of an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, May 19, 2016 (Photo: Lina El-Wardani)
Egypt's civil aviation minister Sherif Fathy said "all scenarios are possible" regarding the EgyptAir flight that went missing over the Mediterranean early this morning but told reporters during a press conference on Thursday that the “possibility of a terrorist act is higher than that of a technical error”
Answering an Ahram Online reporter's question on why he believes it was likely a terrorist attack rather than a technical error, Fathy said: "I said so based on what I read and from my expertise, but these remain assumptions and possible scenarios. I will still use the word ‘missing’ till we find the debris."
Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said a number of times in the press conference that Egypt does not refute the assumption that all scenarios are possible.
Fathy said that the last contact with plane was at 2:30am Cairo time. Authorities tried to contact the flight again at 2:50am but there was no response.
He also said that Egypt will cooperate with French authorities to investigate the disappearance of the plane.
Fathy explained that the Airbus 320 plane could carry 145 passengers, though only 66 were on board, “including 30 Egyptians, 15 French, two Iraqis, one Briton, one Canadian, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian, one Belgian, one Kuwaiti and one Saudi... in addition to 10 crew members.”
The civil aviation minister said authorities are hosting the relatives of passengers who were on the EgyptAir MS804 airliner.
"We immediately thought we should contact the families of the passengers, and we are hosting them at the airport here in Cairo and also at Paris' Charles De Gaulle," said Fathy.
He also said that families who are currently in France will be granted free tickets to Egypt so they are able to closely follow the matter.
During the presser, Fathy said that Egyptian forces are cooperating with Greek authorities in their search overt the Mediterranean Sea.
Follow our live update on the missing EgyptAir plane here.