EgyptAir Recovery Enters 2nd Phase

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.--A salvage ship began hauling up wreckage and human remains yesterday from the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990, as the recovery effort entered its second phase.

A "significant amount appears to have been recovered" already by the Smit Pioneer, a Dutch vessel commissioned by the Navy to lead the recovery effort, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall said at a news conference.

The largest piece recovered so far, Hall said, is an eight-foot section of the aircraft with three windows. Hall, who visited the ship with FBI Director Louis J. Freeh yesterday morning, said he also saw a nose wheel and what appeared to be part of a landing wheel.

The Smit Pioneer is operating in waters about 270 feet deep, 60 miles south of the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, where the Boeing 767 crashed on Oct. 31, killing all 217 aboard.

Hall said no conclusions have been reached as to what caused the crash. Shortly after the crash, underwater robots that were used to recover the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder also brought a small amount of wreckage and human remains to the surface.

An NTSB spokesman said there are no plans to reconstruct the aircraft, but the wreckage will be sorted according to what part of the plane it is, so if it will be easier to put pieces back together if it becomes necessary.

The debris that is being brought up is being sorted by NTSB and FBI investigators on board the ship into four categories: human remains; personal effects; soft materials from inside the plane; and pieces of the plane itself.

Paper Wins King Case Access Issue

NASHVILLE--The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a lower court judge improperly closed his courtroom to the public during jury selection for a lawsuit by the family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Attorneys for the Commercial Appeal of Memphis had said Circuit Court Judge James E. Swearengen violated the First Amendment when he decided Nov. 15 to bar reporters--and eventually the general public--from witnessing the questioning of potential jurors.

Swearengen cited a state Supreme Court rule that allows Tennessee judges to close their courtrooms to control conduct of the proceedings, maintain decorum, prevent distractions, guarantee safety of parties and ensure justice.

But in a unanimous decision, the high court said that rule pertains to broadcast and recording media coverage, not print media coverage. The ruling overturns the Memphis judge's refusal to give the newspaper access to transcripts of the jury selection.

The King family sued retired Memphis businessman Loyd Jowers, who claimed six years ago that he paid someone other than James Earl Ray to kill the civil rights leader in 1968. On Wednesday, jurors issued the verdict the Kings had hoped for: that there was evidence of a conspiracy in the assassination.