EgyptAir 990 Victims Identified
Mar. 07, 2000
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The remains of the first victims of EgyptAir Flight 990 have been identified, four months after the plane plunged into the ocean.
Medical, dental and fingerprint records were used to determine the identities of the 14 victims _ all U.S. residents _ paving the way for families to bury their relatives.
The EgyptAir flight crashed Oct. 31 off the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing the 217 people on board. A salvage ship worked for a week in December, raising the wreckage and remains off the ocean floor.
The Rhode Island medical examiner's office has been identifying victims from 6,000 tissue fragments, most measured in just inches, with no distinctive physical marks. But only 1,300 fragments are suitable for DNA testing, and results may not be ready for 10 months.
A memorial service was held in November in Newport for all the relatives and many already held private funerals.
The National Transportation Safety Board estimated that 70 percent of the aircraft, including one engine, and sections of the wings, tail and body, was recovered.
On Friday, NTSB Chairman James Hall said the second engine would be raised. A civilian ship with an underwater robot is scheduled to begin the task March 18.
``They did a good job on videotaping and taking pictures underwater, but it can also help if we have it out of the water to get a closer look at it,'' NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.
After an examination of the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder, radar data and small amounts of wreckage, Hall said in November that there was no sign of mechanical failure that could have caused the crash.
Hall has disputed reports that investigators are increasingly convinced the jet was crashed deliberately, saying his agency must conduct more studies before they settle on a cause.