CAIRO ø Egypt has determined that an air crash in which nearly 150
people were killed was not the result of an Islamic insurgency attack.
Instead, Egyptian authorities assessed that the crash of Flash Airlines
Boeing 737-300 jet in the Red Sea was the result of a mechanical failure,
Egyptian officials said. The charter flight, which contained 148
passengers ø most of them French tourists ø and crew, left the Egyptian
resort city of Sharm e-Sheik for Paris on Saturday.
"The incident is absolutely not the result of a terrorist act, but is
linked to a technical failure of the plane," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed
On Sunday, the Egyptian Navy was joined by Italian naval ships in the
Red Sea for a search for the jet's flight data recorder. France, which has
also raised the prospect of a technical failure, has agreed to cooperate in
the Egyptian investigation. A team of French aviation experts and a sea
patrol plane were scheduled to arrive in Sharm on Sunday.
Officials said the aircraft experienced difficulties at take-off and
crashed as the pilot tried to return to the airport at
Sharm. They said there was no explosion aboard the 11-year-old plane.
"The aircraft had an ordinary technical failure just after take-off,
which caused a loss of control and it crashed into the sea south of the
airport of Sharm e-Sheikh," Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafik
told Egyptian television. "I hope we can soon determine the causes of the
incident in a definitive way, although I repeat that it was the result of a
The crash took place amid warnings by Britain and the United States of
an imminent attack on civil aviation by Western operatives for Al Qaida.
British authorities have stopped several flights from London to Saudi Arabia
and the United States in response to what officials termed specific
information of an attack. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family
were in Sharm during the airplane crash.