A Prayer Before Dying

The few facts available suggest there should be no rush to judgment

The cockpit door opens, then closes. Silence. After four or five minutes, a calm voice utters three words in Arabic. "Tawakalt ala Allah": "I put my faith in God," or "I entrust myself to God."

It is 1:49 a.m. and 46 sec. on Oct. 31. EgyptAir Flight 990 is cruising uneventfully at 33,000 ft. on its normal heading from New York City northeast across the Atlantic toward Cairo. At that moment, two distinct clicks of a button on the control yoke disconnect the autopilot guiding the plane. Eight seconds later, the control yoke is pushed forward, tipping the tail up, pitching...

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