LATEST: Aircraft debris was found in the southern Mediterranean by Greek authorities searching for a missing EgyptAir aircraft which vanished from radar screens early Thursday, Greek state TV reported.
Earlier, Greek officials said pieces of plastic were found in the sea some 230 miles south of the island of Crete, and two lifevests which appeared to be from an aircraft.
Signs of possible wreckage were found Thursday off the Greek island of Crete in a search for an EgyptAir flight missing in the Mediterranean, a Greek military spokesman told AFP.
"There have been finds southeast of Crete, inside the Cairo flight information area," general staff spokesman Vassilis Beletsiotis said, adding that an Egyptian C-130 plane had spotted the floating objects, and ships would be sent to investigate.
A Greek frigate searching for a missing Egyptair aircraft discovered two large plastic floating objects in a sea area 230 miles south of the island of Crete on Thursday, Greek defence sources said.
The two objects appeared to be pieces of plastic in white and red. They were spotted close to an area where a transponder signal was emitted earlier, the sources said.
French President Hollande confirms EgyptAir ‘crashed’
French President Francois Hollande confirmed Thursday that the EgyptAir flight that disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean had "crashed", AFP said.
"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," Hollande added.
The Paris prosecutor's office said its accident department had opened an investigation into the crash.
The EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo crashed into the Mediterranean between the Greek islands and the Egyptian coast early Thursday with 66 people on board.
"We feel solidarity and compassion. It's not the first such catastrophe, and we know what it means for families and loved ones," Hollande said.
EgyptAir plane crashed off Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace: Greek airport source, quoted by wires.
Earlier, AP quoted an Egyptian aviation officials saying an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew on board had crashed.
But Egypt's civil aviation ministry said in a statement that it was too early to confirm if a passenger plane that went missing over the Mediterranean on Thursday had crashed.
Unidentified relatives and friends of passengers who were flying in an EgyptAir plane that vanished from radar en route from Paris to Cairo. Reuters
Aviation officials, speaking off the record, have said that the plane most likely crashed. However, search teams have yet to find any wreckage to confirm this.
Confusion also reigned over whether the missing plane sent a distress signal that was picked up by the Egyptian military. EgyptAir said in a statement earlier that a signal had been received by the army more than an hour after the plane was due to land. The army denied in a statement receiving any message.
The airline said it was closely working with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail office to handle the crisis.
French Foreign Ministry said France will send planes, boats to help search for the missing plane.
While Egypt’s Aviation Authority has confirmed with news agency AP that the missing flight MS804 aircraft has crashed, EgyptAir is yet to release an official statement.
An official source with EgyptAir posted earlier that a distress signal has been reported by the search and rescue of the Egyptian armed forces, which has been transmitted by the aircraft.
The search and rescue operation team has stated it received a distress message from the plane emergency devices at 4.26am Cairo time.
The statement added the Egyptian military has dispatched some planes and navy units to search for the passenger carrier, and that Greece has also sent some planes with coordination with Egypt.
The airline's official social media account said flight no MS804, which left Paris at 23:09 (CEST), heading to Cairo has disappeared from radar early in the morning.
The A320 aircraft disappeared from the radar early in the morning, shortly after take-off from the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
The aircraft, which was built in 2003, was carrying 56 passengers including two infants and a child, and 10 crewmembers onboard.
The airline said the pilot on board had clocked 6,275 flying hours including 2,101 hours on the same model, while the assistant pilot has clocked 2,766 hours.
The A320 aircraft has been in operation since 2003, EgyptAir said, adding: “Special teams have arrived for search and rescue from the Egyptian Armed forces and are still searching.”
Emergency helpline numbers are 0800 7777 0000 from any landline in Egypt and no. + 202 259 89320 from outside Egypt or from any mobile within Egypt.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has issued the following statement on its social media account: “We are aware of media reports. At this time we have no further details, but we will provide further information when available.”
According to AFP, the Egyptian military has deployed search aircraft and naval vessels to locate an EgyptAir flight, with Greece was also participating in the search for the Airbus A320.
Citing an ‘informed source’, the airline tweeted on its official Twitter account: “An informed source at EgyptAir reported that EgyptAir Flight No MS 804 has lost communication with radar tracking system at 02:45 (CLT), contact was lost at 02:45 GMT with Cairo.
“EgyptAir A320 was at a height of 37,000ft, and disappeared after entering the Egyptian airspace with 10 miles.”
Earlier, the airline had said it had disappeared from radar 80 miles before it had reached the country's airspace.
EgyptAir says it is in touch with authorities and leading a thorough search and rescue.