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Nine Rescued, One Dead in Downed Cuban PlaneAired September 19, 2000 - 2:43 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Back now to the Russian-built plane flown out of Cuba this morning and down somewhere of the area of 180 miles south, southwest of Key West, Florida -- a rescue operation going on with the Coast Guard now.
And Susan Candiotti following that operation from the Opa-Locka Airport, where the Coast Guard is managing its operations.
Candi, what do you know?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, we have additional information now from a spokesperson with the U.S. Coast Guard. And that is that the information coming from a merchant vessel that is about 60 miles west of Cuba. And it is reporting to the Coast Guard that it is -- quote -- "on scene with a downed aircraft."
Now, that merchant vessel reported picking up 10 people. Nine of them are alive. And the merchant vessel reports that one of those survivors has a very serious head injury. Now, a C-130 with the U.S. Coast Guard is on its way to these new coordinates about 60 miles west of Cuba, to seek independent confirmation of any sightings of the downed aircraft, but also to look for any additional survivors.
Now, again, the U.S. Coast Guard does not have any independent confirmation that these people being picked up are from a downed aircraft. What is new to report from the U.S. Coast Guard is what is the merchant vessel is saying. And that is that they are "on scene with a downed aircraft."
Now, the Coast Guard is also sending out a cutter and a helicopter -- although the helicopters that go out don't have that much fuel and there are no Coast Guard cutters in the immediate area where a helicopter can refuel. However, there is the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Courageous, which is a 210-footer, which does have a flight deck, but it's on its way to get a little closer to that site.
So that is the latest from here -- Lou, back to you.
WATERS: OK, Susan Candiotti at Opa-Locka Airport.
The search and rescue operation, as Susan pointed out, continues. We are beginning to unravel the mystery of this flight from Cuba that began at 8:45 Eastern time this morning. And we'll keep on it until we know all the answers. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
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