The Smit Pioneer's EgyptAir flight 990 recovery mission has been completed, and the ship will be released from contract this week. The ship had returned to Quonset Point, Rhode Island from its mission on December 20. Human remains were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Medical Examiner and 16 containers of aircraft wreckage were off-loaded. After being washed, the wreckage has been laid out in a hangar at Quonset Point. We have recovered about 70 percent of the wreckage by weight, including substantial portions of the wings, tail, fuselage and an engine.
Last week, a U.S. Navy nuclear research submarine (SUBMARINE NR1) surveyed the wreckage area with sonar and video recording equipment. Only relatively small pieces of wreckage sparsely dispersed on the ocean bottom were seen. The location of the remaining engine was recorded. Video images show damage to the submerged engine consistent with little or no thrust at the time of impact with the water. This would be consistent with flight data recorder information that the engines were shut off during the crash sequence.
Next week, investigators will begin examining the wreckage thoroughly to see if it sheds additional light on the extensive information gleaned from the two flight recorders. Should the need arise, arrangements will be made to recover more wreckage.
I know I speak for all who are involved in this investigation in saying that as this year draws to a close our thoughts remain with the families of those who lost their lives on flight 990.