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Authorities Say Three Dead in Midair Collision Over Boca Raton, FloridaAired June 23, 2000 - 1:13 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to get back to our breaking news, which is a plane crash just west of Boca Raton, Florida today.
We have us with us, Paul Miller, Sheriff's Department spokesman.
Mr. Miller, what can you tell us about this crash?
PAUL MILLER, SPOKESMAN, PALM BEACH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Well, at this point everything is preliminary. But we have indications that a Lear jet took off from Boca Executive Airport before noon today. And we now have reports of a midair collision. There was conflicting reports at first, but now we have found some debris we believe from second aircraft, which appears to be smaller than a jet.
And there was reports of at least one person may have been in a parachute coming from the area of the planes. And one body was located which appeared to have a parachute with him. So, at this point, we believe have at least two fatalities, possibly three, but we're trying to confirm that information.
ALLEN: So you don't know how many were on each plane?
MILLER: No, we're still checking on that. Some preliminary information may have been there were two on the Lear jet and one in another aircraft. But again, I emphasize this is preliminary, and we're just trying to reconfirm that.
ALLEN: But you definitely have located two planes that have gone down?
MILLER: Two planes. Right? Yes. OK, definitely we have confirmed we have three fatalities.
MILLER: But at this point, based on some preliminary investigation, we believe there were two probably in the Lear jet and one in a smaller aircraft that -- some type of aircraft that was in the area when the jet took off.
ALLEN: So you're presuming everyone... MILLER: And there was Palm Beach Fire Rescue, as well as the sheriff's office and Boca Raton Police Department are on the scene. There was some debris that caused some fires in a condo not far from the crash site. And some of the debris is in the golf course area. But the fires were contained. I have not heard any reports of anybody injured on the ground. And that's something we're still trying to determine.
ALLEN: We're looking at that debris that you are describing now. Are you presuming that everybody onboard these planes is dead?
MILLER: We don't believe anyone would have survived this accident because of the nature of the debris and the way it was scattered. So, at this point, we do have three confirmed fatalities. And we do have no injuries that we're aware of on the ground at this point. But we're still checking and making sure that all the debris is accounted for, and ensuring the public doesn't touch anything, so that the appropriate NTSB and FAA can do their investigation.
ALLEN: Mr. Miller, any calls from eyewitnesses who might shed some light on how this happened today?
MILLER: I can't -- I know that there are eyewitnesses. We're trying to locate eyewitnesses. And there were, because it was shortly before noon, and we're in a very highly congested area, a very affluent area, west of Boca Raton and unincorporated Palm Beach County. And we're in a gaited community where all the debris is located. And at this point, I believe even some of our personnel may have seen something in the air. And so, it will be being pieced together as we continue this investigation.
ALLEN: All right, just a couple of more questions: Had -- do you know -- had the Lear jet just taken off, did you say, from Executive Airport?
MILLER: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.
ALLEN: Had the Lear jet just taken off, do you know?
MILLER: It's all preliminary information that's it had just taken off from Boca Executive Airport. That was the information that we were working with.
ALLEN: And how far is this crash site from the airport?
MILLER: It's not very far at all. It's only maybe a couple of miles from the airport.
ALLEN: All right, Paul Miller...
MILLER: Maybe two to three miles, I'd say.
ALLEN: OK, Sheriff's Department spokesman Paul Miller, thank you very much. You've given us much more information on this.
So, again, confirming two planes colliding over western Boca Raton in a gaited community, landing part of the debris in a condominium complex and on a golf course; one, a Lear jet, two people believed dead on that Lear jet; the second aircraft, a smaller plane. That's all they can tell us right now. One person believed dead from that plane. So three deaths total, no one injured on the ground.
We'll continue to follow this story in Boca Raton, Florida.
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