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Egypt Rejects US Conclusions on 1999 EgyptAir Crash

Egypt Air officials have rejected the recent U.S. report involving an investigation into the crash of the airline's flight 990 from New York to Cairo in 1999. Egyptian officials have issued their own opinion opposing American theories, which blame the co-pilot.

Egyptian Civil Aviation issued its own report Sunday and called for the investigation to be re-opened. The report insists that even though the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board's findings are not yet complete, certain conclusions can be drawn - and that they do not point to pilot error, intentional or otherwise.

The Egyptian report says the investigation shows, among other points, that the jetliner's elevator mechanisms jammed, that only four of the six elevators were recovered and that one showed abnormalities.

The Egyptian report also says that without Federal Aviation Administration radar and U.S. military data to prove otherwise, there is still a possibility that the Boeing 767 was trying to avoid a second object.

The NTSB report, issued Thursday, blames co-pilot Gameel El Batouty and not mechanical error for the crash that carried 217 passengers and crew members to their deaths.

The U.S. report said Mr. Batouty, alone in the cockpit, disconnected the autopilot and pointed the plane toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The Egyptian report claims that a poor English translation of the flight's cockpit data recorder led to American speculation of a suicide. The initial translation of the pilot's last word were, "I place my feet in the hands of God."

Egyptian authorities argue that the actual translation was a common, everyday statement "I rely in God," and not a proper prayer one might say before ending a life.

Walid El Batouty, the co-pilot's nephew and a spokesman for the families of some of the victims, also rejected the NTSB's findings.

"We are not giving this report any consideration as it is not based in fact," said Mr. El Batouty. He added that the Americans still have to prove their theory of suicide.