- WASHINGTON - About 30 Egyptian
military officers were aboard EgyptAir Flight 990 when it plunged into
the Atlantic Ocean off Nantucket with 217 people on board, U.S. defense
officials said Monday.
- The officials, who asked not to be identified, said the
Egyptians from different branches of that country's military had been in
the United States for training and were heading home when the airliner
crashed Sunday, apparently killing all aboard.
- "Defense Secretary
(William) Cohen spoke with Marshal
Tantawi (Egyptian Defense Minister
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi)
on the telephone this morning
and expressed his deep condolences,'' one
senior Pentagon official told
- The official said some of the Egyptians were army pilots
had been undergoing training in flying AH-64 "Apache'' attack
- Egypt is one of Washington's biggest military and political
allies in the Middle East, and the two countries exchange dozens of
annually in training programs as well as taking part in joint
exercises. Egypt has billions of dollars in U.S. military
its defense arsenal.
- In Cairo, aviation and security
sources said more than
30 officers " most of them high-ranking
" were on board the airliner.
But U.S. military officials said
most of the group were not senior-level
- Egyptian Defense Ministry and
other government officials
would not comment on the report.
- One security source
in Cairo said the group represented
various branches of the armed
forces and included four Air Force officers,
two brigadiers-general, a
colonel and a major.
- "Three of the officers went on board the plane
being checked in,'' one of the aviation sources said, without
- Newspapers in Cairo were censored from reporting the
presence of the officers on the flight, Egyptian reporters said.
- The cause of the
crash has not been established. U.S.
aviation authorities did not
receive any distress call.
- Coast Guard cutters scoured the seas through the night,
but picked up only small bits of wreckage and personal items.
- Only one body had
been recovered by late Monday morning.
- President Clinton said in Oslo
that he was not aware
of any threats against airlines flying out of the
United States. He said
until more of the plane was recovered, the cause
of the crash could not
- Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak also played down suggestions
- "Sabotage? I don't think
that, or a terrorist act?
I don't think that, but I cannot foretell. We
are waiting until the investigation
comes to an end,'' he told CNN