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EgyptAir Relatives See Crash Debris

November 7, 1999

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) _ Relatives of victims of the EgyptAir crash were allowed Saturday afternoon to see debris from the airplane for the first time, but what they saw brought little comfort.

About 180 to 200 of the relatives were taken in buses and vans to the site where the debris is being kept. Some stayed for just under an hour, and some stayed for more than two hours.

Debris collected from the ocean was placed in a large white tent the size of two warehouses at Quonset Point, a former Navy base.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman James Hall, lead NTSB investigator George Phillips and NTSB member George Black all accompanied the families during the entire viewing.

Amr Abdelmoneim and Abdelmoneim Abdelmoneim, two brothers who lost their parents in the crash, saw lots of small pieces of the Boeing 767.

Abdelmoneim Abdelmoneim began to cry afterward when asked why he decided to see the wreckage. He said they wanted to get the bodies of both their parents.

``From what we saw, I don’t expect we’re going to see any body,″ said Amr Abdelmoneim, through a translator. ``It’s a very difficult feeling.″

Wahid Elzoghby, a family friend of the Abdelmoneims, said they saw between 6,000 and 8,000 pieces, which officials told him is only 10 percent of the aircraft.

Most people were calm but one man cried out that he wanted to see his brother’s briefcase, anything belonging to his brother, to prove he was on the airplane, said Youssef el-Sayed, an Egyptian American who lost a friend in the crash.

The families were worried they wouldn’t recover the bodies, because the Muslim religion requires them to bury the bodies.

Later, an estimated 70 family members joined a like number of local residents at an informal service sponsored by four Muslim groups at the Masjid Al-Islam, a mosque in North Smithfield, R.I.

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