EgyptAir Flight 990

From Academic Kids

Egyptair Flight 990 was a flight that flew on a Los Angeles-New York-Cairo route (Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, New York to Cairo International Airport in Cairo, Egypt). On October 31, 1999, Flight 990 dived into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.

Radar and radio contact with the Boeing 767-366ER aircraft (Registration number: SU-GAP ( was lost 30 minutes after the aircraft departed JFK Airport in New York on a flight to Cairo. The flight descended from flight level FL330 to FL191 in 36 seconds.

The flight was carrying 15 crew members and 202 passengers.

An investigation by the NTSB determined that the copilot, Gameel Al-Batouti, seized control of the plane when the pilot was out of the cockpit, turned off the autopilot, and deliberately crashed the plane into the ocean, while calmly reciting "I rely on God" and counteracting the pilot's valiant efforts to recover from the dive. The investigation and its results drew severe criticism from the Government of Egypt. The numerous alternative theories proposed by Egyptian authorites were tested by the NTSB - none were found to match the facts.


Numerologic significance

Several days after the crash, many people, particularly in the United States, started calling the tragedy a possible warning of things to come, based on the flight's number (990, which people thought was a message from God to expect tragic things during the changing, on New Year's eve, from 1999 to 2000) and the worrying Y2K situation. The fact that the crash occurred on October 31, which is Halloween also did not go un-noticed in this regard. Soon after the new year arrived without incidents, of course, the myth of flight 990 being a sign from God largely disappeared from public scrutiny.

Persons familiar with the so-called major system for memorizing numbers would recognize that the number 990 can be encoded by words that contain the consonants P,P, and S. One such code word that represents the number 990 would of course be the word PEPSI. If one were to ask if by analogy COKE might be next, then indeed the words DIET COKE and TEQUILA using the standard phonetic alphabet generate the numbers 11 and 77 and 175 which are of course three of the flight numbers from the September 11th attack. Curiously, using the same phonetic cipher the word Al Qaeda encodes the number 571. There is a report that a few days before the September 11th attack, Mohammed Atta called a friend and posed this riddle "what's two sticks and a cake with a stick down?" If Atta was familiar with the major system, then it would be inferable that the usage of the word cake, like coke, might refer to the number of flight 77 which struck the Pentagon.

It remains an open question as to whether this type of numerology has played a specific role in the planning of major terrorist attacks, or if it is a mere coincidence that such attacks have occurred with such degrees of symbolism. Indeed, in on December 23, 2003 the United States department of Homeland Security found in necessary to raise the color coded terrorist alert level to the level orange, and in the events that thereafter followed reports that persons who were on terrorist suspect watch lists tried several times to board a flight in Paris with the flight number 223, with the result that that flight had to be cancelled several times over the next few days. While it may never be known whether a terrorist attack was in fact prevented by those actions, such incidents might indeed be evidence that the use of numerology by such groups as Al Qaeda as part of a modus operandi is certainly a factor not to be ignored.

Conspiracy theory

Some conspiracy theorists (Google search yielding about 26 hits: [1] ( believe that the crash was the first successful test of a 767/757 remote control system that was used in the September 11, 2001 attacks. There were high-ranking Egyptian military officers on board ([2] (,2763,196608,00.html)) and it is not known whether the NTSB investigated this possibility.

See also

External links


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