URGENT Plane Carrying 34 People Crashes Into Aegean
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ An Olympic Airways plane carrying 34 people crashed into the Aegean today near Samos island in thick fog, officials reported. There were no immediate signs of survivors.
The plane was flying from Salonica in northern Greece to the eastern Aegean island, said Transport and Communications Minister Nikos Gelestathis.
He told journalists that search planes spotted life jackets, presumably from the plane, one to two miles off Samos’ northwest coast but that no survivors had been found.
He said helicopters and planes were searching the area where the life jackets were found, setting off flares as darkness set in.
The passengers and crew were all Greek, Gelestathis said.
Asked if authorities suspected that a terrorist act may have downed the aircraft, Gelestathis said authorities were looking into that possibility ″since the pilot gave no indication of any problems.″
Emmanuel Frangiadakis, Athens airport duty officer, said the airport lost contact with the plane at about 4:55 p.m.
Olympic officials in Salonica said Flight OA545 carried 34 people, including three crew members, and was scheduled to land at Samos off Turkey’s western coast at 5:30 p.m.
The officials said the 30-seater plane, a British-built Short twin-engine propeller aircraft, disappeared from the radar screens 25 miles northwest of Samos about an hour after leaving Salonica.