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Statement on EgyptAir Flight 990 Cockpit Voice Recorder
Jim Hall
EgyptAir Flight 990 Cockpit Voice Recorder

It has been barely 24 hours since we received and began reading out the cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir flight 990, which had been retrieved by the U.S. Navy after its 2-week immersion in the Atlantic Ocean.  We released information to you last night stating that, upon initial reviews of the recording, no conclusions could be drawn.

However, because of the quality of the cockpit voice recorder, and the extensive information contained on the flight data recorder, I am confident that many of the questions we have - and you have - will be answered.

As painstaking a process as it is to read out cockpit voice recorders, this one is made more difficult by the fact that it is almost entirely in a foreign language.  To help us expedite this process, we added more translating and interpreting resources today to the task.  Our investigators are working right now on synchronizing the timing between the CVR and the FDR, trying to refine the correlation between the two recorders.  Therefore, I am not prepared to answer questions on the contents of the cockpit voice recorder.

I am well aware of the many rumors, theories, and stories circulating in the last 72 hours - indeed, in the last 2 weeks - about potential causes of this tragedy.  Let me be quite clear on where this investigation is tonight:  We are concentrating our efforts on determining from the evidence, including the CVR, whether or not this investigation is to remain under the leadership of the NTSB.

I assure you that the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the many other agencies of the United States Government, and the Government of Egypt, are committed to as early a resolution to this matter as possible.  We owe it to the American people, to the Egyptian people, to the traveling public around the world, and to the families of the 217 people who tragically lost their lives on October 31.