CAIRO: A plane crashed near Port Said airport Tuesday killing both pilots on board instantly, state media reported.
Mahmoud Abdel Naby and Ashraf Shukri were killed in the crash as they conducted a reconnaissance flight for the Nuclear Materials Authority, which owned the plane. Port Said Governor Mustafa Kamel said that their bodies were recovered from the crash site.
The flight mission was to search for uranium and signs of radioactivity in the Gulf of Suez and the desert. The aircraft crashed without warning in Ahrash near the Port Said airport.
Kamel said that authorities would be reviewing a distress call sent from the plane immediately before the crash.
When contacted by Daily News Egypt, the Nuclear Materials Authority refused to reveal more details about the accident but did confirm the death of the two pilots.
Civil aviation authorities indicated an investigation will be launched into the cause of the crash.
The plane’s mission was part of a recently launched effort by the Egyptian government to jumpstart its long-dormant nuclear program.
Electricity and Power Minister Hassan Younis announced earlier this month that Egypt would build its first nuclear reactor at Dabba, 160 km west of Alexandria. The 1970s nuclear program was disbanded after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.er.