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FAA Releases EgyptAir Tape

The last transmission from EgyptAir Flight 990 before it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Nantucket, killing all 217 people aboard, was a routine "good morning."

Just seven minutes later, a New York air traffic controller said she had lost radar contact with the plane and began an agonizing effort to locate it.

EgyptAir 990 crashed in international waters on its way from New York's Kennedy Airport to Cairo.

That quest was documented in vivid tape recording and transcript released Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Nothing in the transcript provided immediate information relevant to a theory that the Oct. 31 crash was intentionally caused by its co-pilot, Gameel El-Batouty. It was not clear whether his voice or that of the pilot were heard on the tape played for reporters at FAA headquarters.

"990 heavy, good morning," said the voice from the plane. "Heavy" is a term used to refer to the largest passenger planes, including the Boeing 767 involved in the crash.

The Egyptian government has objected to suggestions that El-Batouty may have deliberately caused the crash. National Transportation Safety Board chairman Jim Hall has told Congress the movements of the plane were "consistent with a deliberate action on the part of one of the crew members," but has said that no firm conclusion has been reached on the cause of the crash.

The tape and transcripts revealed no additional information on possible problems with the weather, mechanical malfunctions or a bomb - all of which have been floated as possible causes for the crash.

The "good morning" transmission came at 1:47 a.m. EST. The first indication that something was wrong came in a transmission from the New York air traffic controller at 1:54 a.m., when the controller said "EgyptAir 990, radar contact lost, recycles, transponder squawk 1712."

The controller was instructing the EgyptAir pilot to send out a signal at a particular frequency.

The FAA declined any comment on the transcript because the investigation is still ongoing.

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