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At Least Two Dead After Midair Collision in Boca Raton, Florida

Aired June 23, 2000 - 2:47 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: A story we've been reporting out of Boca Raton, Florida today. A little over about three hours ago now, a twin-engine Lear 55 jet collided with a smaller plane. Three people reported dead in that collision.

We have on the phone with us chief Nigel Baker of the Palm Beach Fire & Rescue.

And we hear chief, the FBI has arrived at the scene. Tell us about that.

CHIEF NIGEL BAKER, PALM BEACH COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE: That's correct. We have multiple agencies that are responding and have arrived on the scene, FBI being one of them, as well as the FAA, and NTSB, who are en route to the scene.

ALLEN: Is it customary the FBI is part of the investigation?

BAKER: Well, at this particular point, I haven't really questioned the FBI, and that's not something we do on a regular base. So, the NTSB and the FAA, they're the ones that really will be doing the investigation part of this aircraft incident. We do have confirmed only two from our department, only two deaths. We are confirming also that it was a Lear 55 jet that's owned by Universal Jet Aviation that was taking off from the Boca Raton airport en route to Fort Pierce Airport at approximately 11:40 this morning.

ALLEN: So, two dead you're saying. Does that mean that the pilot from each plane are the only deaths that you know of?

BAKER: We have would two confirmed deaths, one of them, one of the deaths is a pilot. And we believe it's the pilot from the small aircraft that was struck. The other confirmed death that we have, we're not sure if that is the pilot, the co-pilot, or an observer from the Lear 55 jet.

ALLEN: Chief, we've had conflicting reports today. Can you confirm that the wreckage of the second plane has been found?

BAKER: That is correct. The wreckage of the second plane has been found. We have a debris field that stretches over some three- quarters of a mile to one mile. And that is why we are still in a rescue mode at this point. We had the reports and continually get reports from witnesses on the ground that stated they saw a parachute in the air just before the collision took place.

ALLEN: Chief Nigel Baker, thank you for talking with us.

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