Out of Thin Air

A plane bound for Cairo takes 217 people on a fatal ride in the skies. What went wrong?

Even for sisters, Rania and Soha Rida shared a lot. They were happily planning a joint wedding since each was engaged to an EgyptAir steward. But hours before the EgyptAir Flight 990's fatal crash on Oct. 31, neither of their prospective mates was in a cheery mood. Rania says that in a telephone chat, Hassan Farouk expressed misgivings about the trip, muttering about "technical problems." Soha told an Egyptian weekly that Mohammed Galal was dreading a "very bad flight."

His premonition came disastrously true. Half an hour after lifting off from New York City en route to Cairo, the Boeing 767-300...

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