Former Head of NTSB Says Co-Pilot Responsible for EgyptAir Crash
The former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Monday that evidence showed that the co-pilot of EgyptAir Flight 990 was responsible for its crash.
All 217 people on board the flight in October 1999 were killed.
James Hall said in an interview with the Associated Press that evidence gathered by safety board investigators pointed to actions by the co-pilot, Jamil Al Batouty, rather than any mechanical problems, as the reason for the Boeing 767's crash into the Atlantic Ocean off the Massachusetts island of Nantucket.
“It was clear to me, based on the work of our investigators, that the events could not be described as a mechanical failure but by pilot action,” said Hall, who left the board and now works as a transportation lobbyist.
The NTSB's final report on the crash is due months from now.
Earlier this month, EgyptAir officials submitted their own findings to the board. EgyptAir has rejected any assertions that one of its pilots deliberately downed the plane, saying the crash may have been caused by a mechanical problem in the tail.
An investigative committee formed by EgyptAir denounced as “completely incorrect” the results of the NTSB’s probe.
The head of the committee, Captain Shaker Kiladah, said early this week that the American investigators had neither completed nor followed up on the probe in terms of various possible causes, a fact he said had led to the investigation’s “severe deficiency.”
In his first public comments after the Egyptian committee delivered its response to the Americans, Kiladah said that “the most important aspects neglected by the American investigators were their disregard for what happened to the aircraft’s tail unit.”
He said this was “very important, particularly since a Boeing 767, similar to the afflicted plane, turned out to have a defective tail during its trip from Dallas in the US to France, and was about to face the same catastrophe.”
“Unless the Americans extend this to one year, because they have the right to take their time before releasing the report.”
The report is expected to include the response and views of both the Egyptian and US investigators, said the captain.
“The Egyptian response is in its best form, and is supported by events and valuable information in a 250-page report,” said Kiladah.
The committee chief added that the matter would not be closed simply by delivering the response report.
“We will intensify our efforts in the near future to explain Egypt’s point of view to the world,” said the captain, adding “we will participate in the International Pilots Union conference, which will be held in Prague at the end of this month, and in another international conference to be held in Canada next September by the Aviation Accidents Investigators League.”
“We will present Egypt’s perspective on the incident in both conferences,” he said – Albawaba.com
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