Flight 990: What really happened? | Al Jazeera World

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When is an air crash a planned suicide mission and when is it the result of a disastrous technical fault?

On the morning of October 31, 1999, the EgyptAir Flight 990, a Boeing 767, left John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport for Cairo.

Soon after take-off, it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 passengers. Nearly two decades on, the question that still has not been convincingly answered is ‘why’?.

The initial US investigation blamed the co-pilot and concluded the crash was “as a result of the relief first officer’s flight control inputs”, adding that the reason for his actions “was not determined”.

But today the evidence behind this conclusion looks far from convincing, as this Al Jazeera World investigation exposes.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashes in Jakarta in 2018 and Addis Ababa in 2019 have resulted in investigations into this model of aircraft.

Boeing has already conceded mistakes were made in launching this model. But there have been no such concessions from anyone regarding Flight 990, and after nearly 20 years, there is no resolution for the bereaved families, not least that of First Officer Gameel al-Batouti.

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