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Egypt Flight 804 and INS Dakar

Flight 804.001The tragic loss of Egypt Air Flight 804 and the sixty-six lives on board poses yet another challenge for aircraft investigators and deep-sea recovery teams. Like the Air France Flight 447 accident and the Malaysian Airlines MH-370 disappearance, the aircraft went down over ocean, coordinates only approximately known. The flight recorders for Flight 447 were found two years later at over 13,000 foot depth by a team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. No trace of MH-370 has been found despite dogged efforts. The disappearance of Flight 804 is reminiscent of the mysterious case of the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, which vanished in almost exactly the same spot in the Mediterranean in 1968. Though the two events are certainly coincidental, there are similarities. The location, in a deep-sea site known as the Herodotus Basin, is the deepest part of the Mediterranean at 10,000 feet. Sixty-nine sailors were lost on Dakar, and their fate could not be determined until the wreckage was found. A single piece of wreckage washed ashore, but swirling, hard to predict winds and currents made it impossible to calculate from where the piece had originated with any accuracy. In the case of Dakar, over thirty years passed before its discovery by Nauticos in 1999, revealing that its demise was the result of a tragic accident. It is certainly hoped that the families of Egypt Air Flight 804 will soon learn what happened to their loved ones, but experience suggests that they may have to wait for some time.