Egyptians still Rule out Suicide as Cause of Plane Crash
A new Egyptian book about last year's EgyptAir crash suggests Flight 990 was brought down by a bomb, a missile or mechanical failure - anything but a suicidal crewmember, reported The Associated Press.
The Arabic paperback, 'The One Responsible for the Egyptian Plane Accident', by journalist Hanan Badry, echoes the vehement rejection here in Egypt, by the government and the public, of speculation that copilot Gameel Batouty deliberately brought the plane down, said the AP.
The book reflects continuing fascination with the subject in Egypt, months after the October 31st crash into the Atlantic Ocean off the US East Coast killed all 217 people aboard.
US National Transportation Safety Board chairman Jim Hall has told the US Congress the movements of the plane before the crash were "consistent with a deliberate action on the part of one of the crew members."
But he has said that no firm conclusion has been reached.
"All the families want to know the truth," Batouty's nephew Walid Batouty said as he and other relatives of those who died filed suit last month claiming mechanical malfunction and not suicide downed the airplane, the agency added.
"We have nothing called suicide," Walid Murad, head of Egypt's Pilots Association, said in an interview, adding he believed the only possible causes of the crash were sabotage, a missile attack or technical failure.
Egyptian officials have focused on possible problems with the plane's elevators, a pair of small wing-like surfaces at the tail of the plane that control the up-or-down angle of the nose, the AP added.
The flight data show the plane's elevators were uneven during the rapid descent, indicating a major problem. The elevators are designed to operate in unison. Investigators are trying to determine if the split was caused by the plane's breakup, a jamming problem in one of the elevators, crew panic, or even a struggle for control by two people in the cockpit.
Egyptians also embraced a recent analysis by Aviation Week magazine that casts doubt on the suicide theory.
To undermine the suicide theory for her book, Badry interviewed two of copilot Batouty's friends, psychiatrists who saw him as recently as two weeks before the crash. Both said it was impossible for someone like him - always joking and happy, a person who loved people, life and his family - to commit suicide, the AP added.
The book also quotes a front office employee at the Manhattan hotel where the copilot spent his layover. The employee saw Batouty rushing to a shop to buy socks for his daughter before heading to the airport - the actions of a loving father, not a suicidal man.
Badry, Washington-based correspondent for the Egyptian magazine Rose El-Youssef, said that of the theories she explores in the book, mechanical problems strike her as the most likely cause of the crash, the agency said - Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)