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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 22:05 GMT


World

'A big tragedy for us'

A distraught relative is comforted at Cairo Airport

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been expressed his shock and sadness at the EgyptAir crash, which he said was a tragedy that could have happened anywhere in the world.

The loss of flight 990
"Really I was shocked. It was a big tragedy for us," Mr Mubarak said.

"It could happen anywhere in the world and I give my condolences to all the passengers, to all the families, to the families of the crews who have been lost in this tragedy."

The 10-year-old EgyptAir Boeing 767 went down in the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (100 km) off Nantucket island on Sunday with 217 people on board.


[ image: Suhair Hathout's sister was on the flight.]
Suhair Hathout's sister was on the flight.
Asked whether he knew the reasons for the crash, Mr Mubarak said he was waiting for the results of the investigation.

"It may be something concerning the weather conditions. I cannot foretell.

"I will be waiting until I see the final analysis of the American authorities to tell us what the result."

Mr Mubarak said relatives would be compensated "according to international law".

Relatives fly to US

EgyptAir put on a special flight to take bereaved relatives to New York, which will also carry officials of Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority to serve as observers to the US investigations.


[ image:  ]
In Cairo, relatives of passengers of the doomed flight were issued with visas at the American Embassy to travel to New York to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

Among them was Abdallah el-Mahourky, whose 36-year-old sister Maha was a stewardess on the flight.

"I still cannot get to grips with it," he said.

"I heard about it from CNN in the morning and went straight to the airport. This accident was an act of God."

Mohamed Ahmed Atta, the uncle of Egyptian navy engineer Mohamed Abdel-Hai Mohamed Shaheen, said his 34-year-old nephew was mourned by his parents, wife and two-year-old son.

"They were too distraught to come. I wasn't going to go (to the US), but I have to make sure that it is Mohamed."

Bystanders around the embassy watched in sympathy. "God bless their souls!" said one man.

Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reported that co-pilot Gameel al-Battouti called his son at home on Friday to tell his family he was well and preparing to come home.

"And this was the last call between us and him," his son said.

EgyptAir's emergency telephone numbers:

In the US: +1 - 800 - 243 1094
Outside the US: (202) 245-2244
(202) 244-1460
(202) 418-3690

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