Statement by Chairman Hall
Regarding the EgyptAir Investigation
November 13, 1999, 4 p.m.

Good evening.   I spent today with Admiral Sutton visiting the crewmembers of the GRAPPLE, AUSTIN, and the CAROLYN CHOUEST.  We departed this morning aboard a Navy helicopter at 9:30 a.m. and returned at approximately 2:30 p.m.  While we were at the three ships we were able to thank the men and women who serve aboard those vessels for their work on this important mission.  This was something the families of EgyptAir flight 990 asked me to do before they left Newport.  In addition, we were able to go to the supervisors of salvage control vans and watch the work of the remote operating vehicles as they continue to work on the ocean floor.

I was able to personally thank engineer Andy Sherrell, who Sunday evening searched in a small ribbed boat and with a hand-held locator and was able to find the pingers.  This permitted the Navy to center the sonar search and find the debris field almost immediately and accelerate work on the recovery.

As you know, we are enjoying an approximate 48-hour window of opportunity of relatively calm seas to continue the search and recovery effort of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).  That window is likely to close tomorrow evening, and we foresee several days of unfavorable weather.  I have asked the United States Navy to provide us with options on how we should proceed if we are not successful in retrieving the CVR by tomorrow evening.  We will determine what other assets might increase our chances for successfully recovering the CVR, and what the next steps should be once that is accomplished.

In addition, I continue to communicate, on a daily basis, with the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States and the Egyptian investigators who are located at our laboratory at our headquarters in Washington, D.C . We continue, as they are, to wonder what happened to EgyptAir flight 990 and together to continue this investigation until we can answer this question.

Next week, NTSB investigators will be traveling to Seattle, together with the parties, to work with Boeing's 767 simulator, using the FDR data we have, to see if it sheds light on what might have occurred on flight 990.

Chairman Hall's Speeches & Testimony