Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Remains of 33 EgyptAir crash victims flown home 

December 30, 2000 

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) -- The remains of 33 Egyptians killed in an EgyptAir 
crash off the U.S. coast were flown home to Cairo on Saturday more than a 
year after the still mysterious accident, airport sources said. 

EgyptAir Chairman Mohamed Fahim Rayan told reporters at the airport that the 
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would issue a final report 
on the accident in February and EgyptAir would then respond to it. 

The Cairo-bound flight 990 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on October 31, 
1999, killing all 217 people aboard shortly after taking off from New York. 
The NTSB issued a report on the accident in August but was unable to conclude 
what caused the crash. Its 1,665-page assessment appeared to dismiss Egyptian 
theories that technical problems may have been behind the disaster. 

U.S. investigators have left little doubt that they are working on a theory 
that relief co-pilot Gamil al-Batouti deliberately crashed the plane, a 
theory Egyptian officials refuse to accept. 

Egypt's pilots' federation has threatened to file a lawsuit against U.S. 
President Bill Clinton if U.S. investigators fail to consider all possible 
other causes of the accident, such as missile impact or technical failure. 

The federation has said it wants U.S. authorities to release radar images and 
to question an air traffic controller on duty at the time of the crash, as 
well as two pilots from Germany and Jordan said to have seen missiles while 
flying in the area at the time of the crash. 

On Saturday, armed forces vehicles transported the remains of 20 officers who 
were aboard Flight 990 and took them for burial at a cemetery reserved for 
members of the military. 

EgyptAir organized the transport of the remains of eight of the crew while 
the remains of five other victims were delivered to relatives for burial, the 
sources said. 
Rayan said that the remains of other Egyptian victims would arrive in three 
to four months' time following the completion of identification. Problems of 
identification are behind the delay in the return of remains as the bodies 
are in fragments. 

The remains of about another 40 Egyptian victims yet to be identified are 
still in the United States. The remains of 35 other Egyptian victims were 
returned to Cairo in October. 

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 © 2000 William S. Donaldson III.  All rights reserved