Out Of The Sky

About the loss of 217 lives on Egypt Airlines flight 990: A mechanical or electrical failure, causing an explosion could have caused this crash. Some structural failure in the plane could have caused it. So, conceivably but just barely, could have some kind of crew error. But so also could some act of terrorism or sabotage.

No one is jumping to conclusions. And no one should. But it is not irresponsible for people, including journalists, to ask questions, one of which is rooted in the fact that there have been three strange and unusual in-flight disasters in recent years. All involve airliners taking off from New YorkÂ's JFK International Airport. All involving airliners beginning to fly east across the Atlantic—all in roughly the same corridor, or for the purists, same set of northeastern corridors.

There was TWA flight 800. Then there was the Swiss air flight. Now there is this Egyptian airliner.

The question is: Is it simply coincidence that three airliners, all leaving from the same airport, all going in roughly the same direction, all have somewhat similar airliner disasters. Is something more than coincidence at work?

Granted, each crash must be considered on its own. And each is unique in many ways. And granted, official investigators do not believe the TWA flight and the Swiss Air Flight crashes were caused by sabotage or terrorism. And with the Egypt air flight, it is just too early to say what might have been involved.

So for now the question just must hang out there.