Mayday (2013) s03e08 Episode Script

Death and Denial

A Boeing 767 cruises high above the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Egypt.
217 people are on board.
Just half an hour after take off, disaster strikes.
The pilot and copilot struggle desperately for control of their aircraft.
The lives of all on board will depend on these two pilots and what they do about this dive towards the ocean.
(both strain) THEME MUSIC The John F.
Kennedy International Airport outside New York City is one of the busiest airports in the world.
In 1999, nearly 32 million passengers fly in and out.
More than 340,000 flights take off and land.
EgyptAir Flight 990 is destined to be one of the most controversial ever to leave this airport.
The fate of this flight challenges the strength of an international friendship between two allies and uncovers a hidden mechanical flaw in one of the world's most popular airliners.
The FBI will become involved.
We reviewed surveillance tapes to indicate whether or not anything unusual was loaded on that plane.
Investigators in two countries developed two different theories.
Was this a tragic accident or a terrible crime? Just after 1am, on 31 October 1999, the 217 people on board EygptAir Flight 990 are waiting for take off.
The flight's command captain is Captain Ahmed el Habashi.
He's been with EgyptAir for 36 years.
The command first officer is 36-year-old Adel Anwar.
He switched duty with another copilot so he could return home in time for his wedding.
Soon be a married man.
Congratulations, Adel.
Thank you very much.
The airline's chief pilot for the Boeing 767, Captain Hatem Roushdi, joins them in the cockpit.
At 1:20 in the morning, first officer Adel Anwar is going through his take-off clearance with air traffic control.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: 6000, you fly the gateway climb.
Climbing to 5,000.
Flying gateway.
Clear for take off, runway 22 right.
EgyptAir 990 heavy.
Cabin crew advised? In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate.
Cabin crew, take off position.
After an everyday blessing, the copilot assists the take off.
For safety, both pilots push the throttles.
On a flight of 10 hours, it's standard practice at EgyptAir to provide a relief crew to share the flying duties.
The command crew takes off and lands.
The relief crew flies the middle portion.
Tonight, Captain Raouf Nour el Din and first officer Gamil el Batouty are the relief crew.
They will take over after the first three or four hours and fly the plane until shortly before Cairo.
V1, rotate.
Positive rate of climb both sides.
1,000.
EgyptAir 990 heavy contact departure now 125.
7.
1257.
Bye.
A large number of passengers are senior citizens from the United States looking forward to touring the wonders of ancient Egypt.
My dad and Jenny were married in 1998 .
.
on October 23rd, and to celebrate their first anniversary, they decided to take a trip to Egypt.
Anita Childs' parents are retired and on their way to Egypt as well.
They always had a great time on these tours.
They travelled frequently and so it was a pleasure trip they were looking forward to, seeing the Holy Land especially.
Maureen Sacratini and her brother John Simermyer enjoyed the fact that their parents loved to travel.
They had been particularly fond of a program known as Elder Hostel and this particular vacation trip to visit the pyramids and the other historical sites in Egypt was an Elder Hostel trip.
There are 14 of EygptAir's experienced crew operating the flight.
There are also 33 Egyptian military officers and pilots on board returning after training with the American armed forces.
Gamal el Batouty used to be an Egyptian Air Force flight instructor.
He's now one of the oldest first officers at EgyptAir.
He's so much older than the other copilots that out of respect, they call him "captain".
But some at EgyptAir think that Captain el Batouty has been coasting too long on the favours of old friends.
Just over 20 minutes after take off, el Batouty is about to leave his seat.
Former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Greg Phillips became an expert on the events of this flight.
The relief first officer who would have been expected to come to the cockpit somewhere during the later part of the flight, halfway, wherever he was comfortable, wherever the normal change would have been, came into the cockpit about 20 minutes after take off.
Hello, Gamal.
How are you? How are you, sir? What's news? I slept, I swear.
Just wait, let me tell you something.
I'm not going to sleep at all.
I might come sit for two hours.
But II slept.
I slept.
You mean, you're not going to get up? You will get up.
Go and rest and come back.
You should've told me this.
You should have told me this, Captain Gamal.
You should have said, "Adel" Did I even see you? I will work first.
Just leave me a message.
The younger first officer seems surprised that el Batouty wants to replace him so early in the flight.
And I'm not sleepy.
So you take your time sleeping and when you wake up, whenever you wake up, come back, Captain, okay? - I'll come either way.
- Oh, Captain Come and work the last few hours and that's all? It's not like that.
That's not the point.
Look, if you want to sit here, there's no problem.
I'll come back to you.
I'll go get something to eat and come back, alright? Fine, fine.
Look, here, why don't you go .
.
why don't they bring your dinner to you here and then I'll go sleep, okay? That's good.
Okay, with your permission, Captain.
And with that, el Batouty leaves to get his meal.
Do you see how he does whatever he pleases? Do you know why that is? Captain el Habashi senses his first officer's resentment and tries to smooth over the situation.
Are you a youngster? Anwar wonders if el Batouty wants to take over because he may not want to work with Relief Captain Nour el Din.
Doesn't he want to work with Raouf, or what? It's possible, it's possible, God knows.
But look, you shouldn't get upset, right? He's just talking nonsense.
That's it.
Everything's under control.
Okay, chief.
Thanks again.
First Officer Anwar concedes and is ready to hand over to el Batouty.
Normally, this is the most relaxed, easy part of a long flight for pilots and passengers alike.
The highly automated aircraft systems will take care of the flying for several hours.
PHILLIPS: It's very unusual for an airplane flying over the Atlantic at night-time to encounter any kind of difficulties.
We normally expect accidents to happen in approach or landing or near airports and very seldom do we get anything out over the ocean in the middle of the night.
Excuse me, Gamal, while I take a quick trip to the toilet.
Go ahead, please.
Before it gets crowded.
While they're still eating.
I'll be back to you.
Before the captain returns, disaster will strike EgyptAir Flight 990.
The fate of everyone on board will be in the hands of the copilot, the man who shouldn't be here in the first place.
On a Boeing 767 bound for Cairo EgyptAir's flight 990 appears to be cruising smoothly over the Atlantic.
The relief first officer Gamal el Batouty is alone in the cockpit while the captain has gone to the washroom.
Speak of the devil, eh? But then the plane dips, plunging down.
The nose pitches down, creating zero G - weightlessness throughout the aircraft.
This airplane basically started at one G, which is what we expect for a level cruise flight.
As you push the nose down, as if you would be cresting the top of a hill in a car in a high speed that drops away, you'd feel the airplane fall away from you and you would start to feel a little lightnessy and as the dive progressed you would feel a little bit lighter yet.
I rely on God.
Whatever the first officer is intending, he says nothing except this phrase again and again.
Captain el Habashi fights the disorientation of zero gravity desperately trying to return to the cockpit.
An American journalist living in France studied this flight extensively.
16 seconds after the dive began when the airplane had gone into zero G and into negative G, and was at an extreme angle, the captain somehow made his way back into the cockpit.
How he did that, physically, I will never know.
Warning signals indicate the dive is exceeding the maximum speed allowed for the plane, taking them to 99% of the speed of sound.
This far past the plane's design limits, the stresses on the air frame are pulling it apart.
SCREAMING What's happening? I rely on God.
I rely on God.
Captain el Habashi pulls back hard on his control column.
Then he tries to use the engines to power their way out of the dive by pushing forward on the throttles but he gets nothing.
What? You shut off the engines? I rely on God.
Desperate, the captain deploys the speed brakes, panels standing up from the wings in an effort to slow the dive.
SCREAMING The dive is slowing back from the brink of the sound barrier.
The dive goes on but the nose is coming up.
In just seconds they go from zero G to double the force of gravity.
Captain el Habashi struggles to level the plane and pulls back hard on the control column.
The 767's dive begins to slow.
Pull with me! You shut off the engine.
Pull! In seconds, the engines stop and the power goes off, plunging the aircraft into darkness.
Here the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder stop.
No-one knows what happened in the plane during the next two minutes, but radar tracks its path.
The plane is climbing again.
Up from about 5,000 metres to over 7,500 metres as the aircraft structure is weakened by the stresses of abnormal speeds and manoeuvres.
Then the aircraft falls into another terrifying dive.
Stressed beyond endurance, the left engine is ripped from the plane.
CRASH! AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: EgyptAir 990, New York Centre.
EgyptAir 990, if you copy At 1:52am, Flight 990 disappears from radar screens crashing into the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, some 100 kilometres off the American coast.
Coast Guard Search and Rescue get a call at 2:15am.
A plane has disappeared and Coast Guard vessels are called to the scene.
The US Merchant Marine training vessel 'Kings Pointer' is first to arrive.
Just as the day was dawning, we noticed oil in the water.
And that was the first indication so we turned the ship around back into the oil, and as soon as we turned around we started seeing debris rise up to the surface.
In Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb, Captain el Habashi's daughter can only guess what her father went through.
Can you imagine if you have a beloved one, a father, a daughter or a brother, facing all the horrors of finding himself falling from 36,000 feet suddenly trying to save his life, his colleagues' lives, the people, the passengers.
In a home in Maryland, a sleepy Sunday morning takes a tragic turn.
I had woken up for some reason at 5:30 in the morning and we were flipping on the TV to check the weather and we were deciding what mass we were going to be going to - it was Sunday - and immediately on CNN they had "Flight 990 missing", and I was in total shock.
I ran down to my refrigerator where I had my parents' itinerary and I ripped it off and just started sobbing uncontrollably.
I was screaming.
I didn't know what to do.
We located a significant debris field and that we have concentrated our search efforts since then on about a 36 square mile of area about 50 miles south of Nantucket.
At the end of October, the waters of the North Atlantic are so cold that normal life expectancy is about five to six hours.
In Cairo, relief captain Raouf Nour el Din's daughter Mai clung to hope for her father.
I was talking to myself trying to convince myself that my father was not on this plane.
And if he's on this plane, he will be safe because my father was an Air Force pilot.
He had very good experience, and I thought maybe if the plane crashed, he would be able toyou know, to be in a safe place and to swim and to go to any land.
At the crash site, all that's left is pieces.
Within hours, authorities know there's little hope for survivors.
We believe at this point that it is in everyone's best interest to no longer expect that we will find survivors in this case.
October 1999 - EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board.
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reaches out to a stricken nation.
This is the worst air crash in Egypt's history.
Really I was shocked.
It's a big tragedy for us and I give my condolences to all the passengers, to the families, to the families of the crews who have been lost in this tragedy.
I have contact with President Clinton and others and he's giving good support for trying to find .
.
investigate what was the reason.
The American president would answer his ally with a commitment.
And I spoke earlier with President Mubarak of Egypt today to express my condolences and to assure him that we would be working together closely until this matter is resolved.
We do not know what caused this tragedy.
In northern Indiana, music historian Jim Brokaw learned what happened to his father and stepmother.
One of the many things that I felt on that first horrible morning was the sense that people all over the world were confronting the same horrible circumstances that I was and had the same sense of helplessness and disorientation that I did.
Shocked and grieving, relatives arrive at Newport, Rhode Island.
They will seek answers and share comfort.
There were 100 Americans, 89 Egyptians, 21 Canadians, and seven victims of other nationalities on board.
They're all asking, "What caused this tragedy?" Teams of investigators will pursue that question for years to come.
JIM HALL: We are beginning what may be a long investigation and we are prepared to do what it takes to find the answers to the questions we are seeking.
In Washington, Greg Phillips from the National Transportation Safety Board leads the investigation into this crash.
PHILLIPS: From the very beginning, we realised it was a very difficult case.
The airplane was in cruise at night-time out over the ocean.
And when it went into the ocean, there was just a little bit of floating debris but we had to recover the airplane from the bottom of the ocean to begin the investigation.
The job of finding the black boxes would be difficult.
The water is about 70 metres deep and the tremendous force of the crash has smashed the locator beacons off the boxes.
In this case, both the underwater locators - called 'pingers', which help us locate the boxes underwater - were detached, so we had an extra difficult job in trying to find the actual boxes where the recording material was contained.
Nine days after the crash, the US Navy's unmanned submarine 'Deep Drone' recovers the first of the two black boxes, the flight data recorder, which stores information about what the aircraft and its systems were doing.
Four days later, the second black box, the cockpit voice recorder, lands on the deck and is carefully transported to the NTSB laboratories.
The cockpit voice recorder captures all sounds in the cockpit for the last 30 minutes of the flight.
The black boxes are protected to withstand impacts of 3,400 times the force of gravity.
The recovery of the cockpit voice recorder provided a gripping and bewildering picture of the last minutes of a disaster.
Here, investigators hope, is the key to unlock the mystery of Flight 990.
Translating the Arabic spoken in the cockpit is a top priority at NTSB headquarters.
The cockpit voice recorder was good quality.
It was easily usable and translatable by the investigation team.
The cockpit voice recorder is always just a piece of the investigation that fits many other pieces of the puzzle.
That goes along with flight data recorder data, examination of the wreckage and all the other aspects of the investigation.
On major investigations, like the crash of EgyptAir 990, the NTSB works routinely with the FBI.
The physical evidence has to be managed in case it's needed in court.
Former FBI Assistant Director Lew Schiliro is a veteran investigator and no stranger to air crashes.
By the time EgyptAir occurred, we were fairly adept at looking at airline disasters, particularly with the view of developing whether or not a terrorist incident or criminal act had occurred.
The FBI checked for evidence of bombs, terrorists or terrorist targets on the flight.
Trying to determine luggage against the passenger list and whether or not there was anything unusual in the Manifest, whether or not the people that loaded the plane could recall anything that would have caused them concern.
We reviewed surveillance tapes to indicate whether or not anything unusual was loaded on that plane.
We had no evidence at all of any explosive device on board EgyptAir that night.
At the NTSB, American investigators found no fault in the aircraft from studying the flight's data recorder.
But Egypt's members of the investigation team insisted that not all the evidence was in, Much of the wreckage was still in storage on Rhode Island.
They hoped the cause of the crash can be found here.
Egypt's representatives searched for any possible mechanical cause for the crash.
While they search, other theories are pursued.
A study into the causes of airline crashes published in January 2001 points to pilot error as the cause of one-third of these accidents.
It also finds a strong connection between bad weather and pilot error.
But the crash of EgyptAir 990 occurred in clear weather with veteran pilots.
What happened in the cockpit would divide the investigation and fuel an international controversy.
October 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes in the Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board.
The investigation develops in two directions - fault in the airplane and pilot action.
Pull with me.
Rumours swirl about what, or who, may have caused this terrible crash.
One of the key questions - why was the relief first officer in the cockpit hours earlier than expected? He was supposed to replace Adel Anwar much later in the flight.
But in Cairo, Adel Anwar's older brother Tarek has no problem with Adel being replaced in the cockpit.
Suppose Adel is one of my friends and we are travelling in a car and he asks me if he can drive instead of me.
Is this going to be a problem? For example, if Adel didn't get enough sleep and Captain Gamal told him, "Let me fly the plane instead of you and you go rest," there is no problem with that.
When the actions in the cockpit are put together with the voices recorded a timeline emerges that indicates a series of initially bewildering decisions.
I'll be back to you.
The timeline reveals that after Captain el Habashi leaves the cockpit there's a series of sounds whose meaning can only be guessed at.
Control it.
And then the relief first officer disconnects the autopilot.
I rely on God.
Released from the autopilot's control, the plane starts to descend, rolling to the left.
Egypt's experts describe el Batouty's decision to shut off the autopilot as a possible reaction to an unusual movement of the aircraft, prompting him to take manual control.
However, the leader of the NTSB investigation disagrees.
We found no reason for the autopilot to be disconnected by a fault or failure in the airplane.
Normally, all aircraft movements are meant to keep passengers comfortable as though they were on the ground.
After switching off the autopilot, el Batouty pushes his control column forward, lowering the elevator panels, so the flight data recorder indicates to the NTSB.
Then he pulls the throttles back, reducing engine power.
This causes the plane to dive.
Egypt's investigators say el Batouty was not trying to crash the plane and there may have been an elevator failure which he could not overcome.
Strangely, there is no discussion of a problem on the cockpit tape.
When the captain made his way back to the cockpit, he asked the first officer what was going on, and never received a response.
As former Director of Aviation Safety, Bernard Loeb oversaw all air crash investigations at the NTSB.
It is well understood that in a cockpit, a jet transport cockpit of virtually any airline in the world, when a captain comes in and asks a question, the first officer will respond.
When the captain asked his questions, Batouty did not respond.
Fighting the dive, pulling his column back all the way, the captain cannot gain complete control of the elevator.
So he tries the throttles to power out of the dive.
He was unaware that seconds earlier the first officer had shut off the fuel to the engines.
Egypt's experts say that el Batouty may have been acting out of caution.
The flight data shows that a low oil pressure warning appeared.
That can mean the engines have flamed out.
The captain may have then ordered the fuel to the engines shut off as part of the procedure for restarting the engines.
- Shut the engines.
- It's shut.
The NTSB consider this possible scenario, as well.
The engine shut off on a two-engine airplane at night over the water - we couldn't understand any reason why any emergency could cause you to shut all the power off available to the airplane when you're heading away from the nearest airport.
Foremost among the Egyptian investigators' scenarios was a tragic elevator failure.
In Washington, at the National Transportation Safety Board, analysis of the flight data recorder indicates that Captain el Habashi was pulling back on his column to make the plane climb while first officer el Batouty appears to be pushing forward on his column, making the plane go down.
Elevators work simply - pull back on the column and the elevators go up, lifting the plane.
Push forward, and the elevator panels move down to make the plane descend.
They work together, but in this case, they're going in opposite directions.
Egypt's experts argued that this crash could have been caused by a failure in the elevator assembly producing an elevator hard-over, a jam in the elevator controls which lock them in the down position, plunging the aircraft into an uncontrollable dive.
They stated that first officer el Batouty was working to regain control of the elevators, and added that he and Captain el Habashi were working together.
If there had been an elevator failure, it could explain the first officer's unusual performance in the cockpit.
Supporting evidence is found when analysing fragments of the wreckage in the hangar at Rhode Island.
Here, investigators made a remarkable discovery - three unusually sheared rivets.
These tiny parts play an important role in the Boeing 767 elevator assembly.
Egypt's consulting experts determined the scratches in the metal surfaces of these rivets showed that they were sheared off in two different directions.
One direction could be attributed to the crash.
The second could indicate that the break occurred before the crash, and so may have indicated a jam in the elevators.
Egypt's experts drew this to the attention of the Federation Aviation Administration, America's civil aviation regulator.
Alarmed by the potential risks, the FAA ordered all bell crank rivets to be inspected on every Boeing 767 in operation around the world.
The inspections uncovered 136 sheared rivets, and 34 aircraft were grounded until the fault was fixed.
The FAA said the problem could result in loss of controllability of the airplane.
Egypt's investigators had uncovered a credible-sounding scenario, that the sheared rivets in the elevator assembly of the Boeing 767 indicated a jam that could have caused an elevator hard-over that the pilots could not overcome.
NTSB investigator Greg Phillips disagreed.
Those are by design for the Boeing 767 - the controls can be split.
They're designed that way in case one of the surfaces, the control surfaces, fails.
So that whoever is still in control of the airplane or can control the airplane with the failed elevator.
Before he became an investigative writer, William Langewiesche was a commercial airline pilot.
Flight 990's manoeuvres are programmed into a flight simulator in order for Langewiesche to test a pilot's reactions.
To see an airplane going so wildly into a dive, to see the altimeters unwinding at that speed, to hear the horns and warning signals going off, is frightening.
Whatever the cause of the dive, Langewiesche tries a variety of responses to recover from it.
Finally they asked me to wait at the extreme 15 seconds.
To sit in the 767, or any airplane going out of control and do nothing for 15 seconds - 15 seconds is a long time.
It's inconceivable.
But I did it.
And even the 15 seconds, even waiting 15 seconds, I was able, through no particular skill, really reacting almost as any student pilot would, to recover the airplane, recover from the dive, before the airplane exceeded its limits.
No Boeing 767 has suffered from an elevator hard-over and dive before or since the crash.
The aviation experts hired by Egypt developed a wide range of scenarios citing a fault in the elevator assembly as a possible cause of the crash.
PHILLIPS: Based on the data, the information we have from the testing that was done as a group effort, with all the best thinking everybody had at the time, we could not make this airplane do what it did with any of the failure scenarios that were presented to us.
While mechanical failure scenarios were exhausted and terrorism was excluded, the FBI continued to dig into the life of first officer Gamal el Batouty.
Less than three weeks after the disaster, news media report that in the final moments before the crash el Batouty said, "I have made my decision.
I put my faith in God" - causing many to believe he might be an Islamic militant bent on destruction.
But the translation was incorrect.
From our initial review of el Batouty's background, he was a fairly religious person, but I don't think we had anything to determine that his religious beliefs were radical or beyond what would have been a normal religious person.
What had Batouty said, and what does it mean? Egyptian professor Amin Bonnah teaches Arabic at Georgetown University in Washington.
"Tawakalt" means "I depend", "I rely", "I trust".
And "ala" is on and "Allah" is "God".
"Tawakalt ala Allah" - "On God, I rely, I depend on whatever I'm going to be embarking on.
" People use it when they start a threat, when they start driving going back home and say "Tawakalt ala Allah".
When you have an exam, you begin by saying "Tawakalt ala Allah".
It's a very positive phrase.
So it's not the kind of phrase that anyone would be using before they commit a crime or before they commit suicide.
"Tawakalt ala Allah.
" To say this common phrase once was normal, but el Batouty repeated it 11 times.
- Tawakalt ala Allah.
- What's happening? Tawakalt ala Allah.
I expect that Captain Batouty would say, "There is a fire in the engines" "something's stopped" or "I can see something's hitting the plane" Anything like that.
But he goes on endlessly saying, "Tawakalt ala Allah.
" This is not logic.
For the el Batouty family, their grief would be compounded by the need to defend their father's honour.
When he died, the one thing we had to reassure us was that he had died honourably and now they're trying to take that away from us.
There is a lot of mechanical failures.
Why you have only to say that it's a deliberate act, no mechanical, no weather, no mechanical, no weather.
So why? Because he's an Egyptian pilot.
Chairman Jim Hall allowed that it could have been a criminal act rather than an accident.
The investigation could end up in the hands of the FBI alone.
It is only prudent for the National Transportation Safety Board to consult with these experts and officials to fully evaluate this information prior to any final decision on whether the responsibility for this investigation should transfer to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, formerly commander of the Egyptian Air Force, had known Gamal el Batouty, according to his nephew Walid.
Mubarak asked President Bill Clinton to intercede, to keep the crash from becoming an FBI matter.
Since the crash, Walid el Batouty, nephew of Gamal, has become the el Batouty family spokesman.
You have to understand that the highest ranking in this country, which is the Egyptian President, was an Air Force pilot.
And he was asked and he says, "According to my experience, "it's in the tail unit, something happened there.
"It's not suicide.
"It could be either mechanical failure, manufacturer defect "Something.
" In America, the FBI focuses on Gamal el Batouty and the question of motive.
The FBI would learn about the man in control of EgyptAir 990.
Interviewing colleagues and friends discovering a dark side to Gamal el Batouty.
Investigating the cause of the crash of EgyptAir 990 the spotlight falls on the character and history of relief first officer Gamal el Batouty.
SCHILIRO: He was 59 years old, approaching 60, had never risen above the rank of first officer.
That may have caused him some animosity towards EgyptAir.
Had some personal issues in his own life in terms of financial.
Some issues in terms of his family members being sick, needing medical attention.
WALID EL BATOUTY: The views of the daughter and the accusation, as they said, she was sick, and that's why maybe he committed suicide.
Before we go to this, I will give you the reason.
First the doctors have already, on that particular flight, have already told them that your daughter is going positive with the medication and everything is going fine, and he was extremely happy.
He was so excited to come back.
Gamal el Batouty was bringing her medical records back that night, among other things.
Okay, he bought tyres for his son and an argument went on on the phone between him and his son.
My father called me to come to the airport because he could not carry all four tyres himself.
He says, "Listen, I carry your tyres all the way from the States.
"You don't wanna come and carry it from the airport?" It's a very natural thing.
A man is gonna commit suicide.
Why would he do this? In New York, the FBI continued their investigation at the Hotel Pennsylvania where EgyptAir had a block booking of about 50 rooms for their crews.
The investigation that the FBI was able to do, as far as el Batouty's background, probably spanned a period of about a year or so.
At least from the records that we were able to obtain, and from the interviews we did at the various places that he stayed.
So he did have, I think, a propensity to engage in behaviour with some of the hotel people, in terms of sexual misconduct.
Hey, pretty lady! Where did you get to? Which, you know, at the time, really appeared to be totally out of the realm of what was normal for a person of that status to do.
A husband and father-of-five, Gamal el Batouty was notorious for leering at and bothering female guests and hotel staff.
The FBI learned that two years before the crash, two young women reported that he called them on their hotel room phone telling them to look out the window across the courtyard.
You have a good time, too! When they did, they saw el Batouty exposing himself and reported the incident to hotel security.
His provocative behaviour would continue.
A hotel maid told the FBI that the night before the crash of EgyptAir 990, el Batouty had sexually harassed her again.
No, I want to talk to you, because, look, I give you 100 if you just come to my room.
I'm not here for that! Oh, sure.
I'm here to work! Just leave me alone! Ah, don't be like that When the maid reported the approach, another addition was made to the hotel's record of sexual harassment of guests and staff by el Batouty.
The allegation of the hotel, as far as they said, it happened way before - not one day before the flight.
Not one day before the flight, as has been mentioned.
The hotel maid told the FBI the incident took place on October 29, 1999 - the day before the flight.
Three months after the FBI began investigating el Batouty, an EgyptAir flight landed in London.
The plane's captain requested political asylum in the United Kingdom.
He claimed to have information about the cause of the crash of EgyptAir 990, and he feared reprisals in Egypt.
Captain Hamdi Taha was a colleague of Gamal el Batouty.
And he was walking away from his wife, his family and his country.
The FBI sent a special agent, and along with a British security officer, he interviewed Captain Taha.
FBI AGENT: Were you aware of el Batouty displaying sexually inappropriate behaviour? Yes.
This is very important.
I heard it from pilots who I trust.
Batouty got into trouble for sexual misbehaviour in New York with maids, and following women, and so on.
The airline tolerated this for a while and they told him several times, "Maybe you can get away with this normally, "but this is America - you represent our country.
"You cannot do these things.
" Captain Taha's information was second-hand, but his description of el Batouty meeting with the airline's chief pilot was intriguing.
Hatem Roushdi went to see Batouty the night they took flight 990.
They had a meeting in the hotel.
He told him that what he had done could not be covered up and something had to be done.
The flight back to Cairo from New York would be his last flight.
Gamal, we go back many years together, but this will be your last flight to the United States.
He would not be flying to America anymore.
Batouty had just had his big privileges taken away from him and he was humiliated.
So, I think that what happened was this.
He must have said to himself, "If this is going to be my last flight, "it will be Hatem Roushdi's last flight also.
" Certainly within various corporations where people bring weapons into the office and attempt to take revenge against people that they feel have aggrieved them - perhaps Batouty felt that EgyptAir had been the cause of some of his issues and unfortunately, in this case, it was the kind of office that was flying at 33,000 feet.
The FBI provides Taha's interviews to the NTSB.
Egyptian officials asked for another EgyptAir pilot to be interviewed.
Mohammed Badrawi had known el Batouty for 40 years.
Interviewed at the NTSB, he described discussing with Captain Roushdi what to do about el Batouty's behaviour.
Do you know if Hatem Roushdi was aware of the situation with Batouty? Well, of course he knew.
But he pretended not to know, I think, because Hatem Roushdi is the chief pilot.
Badrawi confirms that Hatem Roushdi is upset about el Batouty's harassment of women at the hotel.
So Badrawi takes Roushdi's concerns to his old friend.
MAN: And if he didn't listen to you, what did you tell him would happen? BADRAWI: Nothing much, really.
You see, he was on his way out.
We don't normally touch people when they're approaching 60.
I know, I know.
I'm not saying that you are doing something wrong.
They are saying that you're doing something wrong.
I know you're my friend.
We have a little patience, and then they're out.
Badrawi would ask Roushdi to be patient with his old friend, considering that el Batouty only had three months to go before retirement.
We have been in the air force for 40 years.
All he needs is a few more months.
Badrawi's interview confirmed that Roushdi did believe el Batouty's behaviour had to be dealt with and he denied Taha's claim of a meeting between the two on the night of the crash.
But Captain Taha was not done.
He had another compelling story to add.
In London, an Egyptian pilot has requested political asylum and is offering an insider's view of the most controversial tragedy in the history of EgyptAir.
Captain Taha revealed to the FBI how EgyptAir briefed its pilots about the crash.
When they had done the transcripts of the cockpit voice-recorder, the EgyptAir Chief of Operations called all flight crew to a special meeting in Cairo and told us the facts.
Just the facts, no commentary.
No explanation of any technical problem.
He did not say anything, but all we pilots realised that this was not an accident.
And then, he told us not to talk to anyone about it.
"Don't talk to your family, don't talk on the phone, "don't talk to each other," he told us.
All of us realised that Batouty had done this on purpose.
For the American families involved, this was a case of 216 murders and one suicide.
In Egypt, big, close extended families combine with a strong religious faith to deny that Egyptians commit suicide.
The story has many sides.
It has to do with religion.
It has to do with beliefs.
It has to do with culture.
I think, until today, still in the Egyptian culture, people don't believe that Muslims, or that Egyptians, or that people coming from that culture commit suicide.
Cultural differences were not the only impediments to this investigation.
SCHILIRO: One of the difficulties we did have was that when we went over to Egypt and attempted to really get into his background, it became a very sensitive issue for the Egyptian government.
FBI efforts to learn about el Batouty's personal life and family relations would be stymied.
It became, almost to the point, where we were never really able to develop all the things that we needed toto get at.
Finally, on 21 March 2002, after a nearly 10 million investigation over two years and five months, the NTSB publishes its report and determines that: The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority responded angrily and their response read, in part: The NTSB's former Director of Aviation Safety takes exception to the Egyptian view.
What was unprofessional was the insistence by the Egyptians, in the face of irrefutable evidence to anyone who knows anything about investigating airplane accidents, and who knows anything about aerodynamics and airplanes, was the fact that this airplane was intentionally flown into the ocean.
No scenario that the Egyptians came up with, or that we came up with, in which there were some sort of mechanical failure in the elevator control system would either match the flight profile or was a situation in which the airplane was not recoverable.
Like many of his countrymen, the loyal nephew cannot believe his uncle Gamal was a mass murderer.
This is a simple plane crash.
It was put and made like this for no reason.
It shows that it's a cover-up.
Greg Phillips takes pride in having thoroughly investigated every lead and every scenario.
When we signed on to be accident investigators, we do it with the idea that we're going to keep the next one from happening, not to cover up the one that did because of whatever reason may be given to us.
I've never known that to happen.
I've never even known it to come close to happening.
There continue to be differing perspectives on the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 and unanswered questions remain for broken and damaged families.
For many of them, answers to how and why this plane crashed will forever be a painful mystery.