- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The National Transportation Safety Board's final report on the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 says the co-pilot was responsible, government sources said yesterday.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the report points to actions by co-pilot Gameel El-Batouty as the probable cause of the accident, which killed 217 persons.
The NTSB report, expected to be released soon, is silent on whether he deliberately crashed the plane, the sources said.
There has been speculation that El-Batouty committed suicide, shutting off the autopilot and saying a prayer before sending the aircraft into a dive.
EgyptAir has claimed that mechanical problems caused the October 1999 crash of the Boeing 767 into the Atlantic Ocean off the Massachusetts coast. NTSB officials have said there is no evidence of mechanical problems.
El-Batouty took the controls of the plane shortly after it took off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Over the ocean, the plane began to plummet. An NTSB transcript of the cockpit voice recorder showed the pilot, Mahmoud el-Habashy, crying, "Pull! Pull with me! Pull with me! Pull with me!" as he tried to bring the plane out of its fatal dive.
NTSB Chairwoman Marion Blakey told at a congressional hearing yesterday that some board members had asked for changes after reviewing the report. She declined to comment on its findings.


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