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Breaking News

Singapore Airlines Official Promises to Do All Possible for Flight 006 Victims, Their Families

Aired November 1, 2000 - 3:32 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 are going to take you, now, live to Los Angeles International Airport to a spokesman for this Singapore airline who's going to bring us the latest on the investigation into the crash yesterday that killed 10 Americans in Taiwan.

JAMES BOYD, SINGAPORE AIRLINES: I am hear with a number of different representatives who are hear to, basically, give you an update on the specific steps that are being taken to look after the families and the friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy.

To my left is Mr. Tee Hooi Teoh, who is the senior vice president, the Americas for Singapore Airlines. After all of the talks that we had yesterday we thought you might be interested in speaking with a very senior Singapore Airlines executive. That is why Mr. Teoh has joined us today, to give us more of an update on the specific steps that the airline is taking to look after the families of the victims of this tragedy.

We have a five-part itinerary plan, or program plan, today. First of all, I'd like to, once again, introduce Mr. Teoh. He's going to address you and give you some information. At that point we'll give you an update on the latest update that's come from Singapore regarding the status of -- the welfare of the passengers, et cetera, for Flight SQ6. After that we'll be introducing our colleges from the American Red Cross, the air disaster team that has gathered to assist us with the passengers and the families here in Los Angeles.

So without further ado, can I introduce to you Mr. Tee Hooi Teoh, the senior vice president, the America's for Singapore Airlines. I know you'll probably need me to spell his name for your publications. The first name is T-E-E, middle name H-O-O-I, last night T-E-O-H. So without further ado: Mr. Teoh.

TEE HOOI TEOH, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, THE AMERICAS, SINGAPORE AIRLINES: I would like to see say again how deeply sorry all of us in Singapore Airlines are by the news of this accident and to reiterate that we will do everything in our power to help the families in the coming days.

Singapore Airlines is working closely with the families of passengers who were onboard SQ6 to help them obtain the latest and most accurate information on the status on their loved ones. Singapore Airlines has set up a special toll-free number: 800-828-0508 for people to call to make inquiries about those who were on the aircraft.

Our regularly scheduled flight from Los Angeles will take U.S. relatives to Taiwan tonight at 11:25 p.m. Singapore Airlines is providing families of passengers who passed away with $25,000 as immediate relief assistance. This sum is designed specifically to help meet the immediate needs of the families during this very difficult time. We recognize there is intense and legitimate interests in knowing the identities and the individual status of everyone on the flight. Our first priority is -- will be to verify that the information we have is accurate and reach family members as quickly as possible.

We have made available a complete list of passengers aboard yesterday's flight, six on our Web site. In addition, the site also includes a listing of accounted for and unaccounted for passengers. You can access the site by logging onto www.singaporeair.com.

Singapore Airlines has a team of its top safety and investigative experts on the scene to assist with the Taiwan authorities and the NTSB in the investigation into the cause of the accident. While the cause of the accident is not known at this time, I promise we will do everything in our power to help the NTSB and Taiwan aviation authorities to determine the cause.

At this point in the investigation we cannot say conclusively what caused the accident. I'm sure you can agree that it would be irresponsible to speculate at this stage of the investigation. The accident is the first major one for Singapore Airlines in 28 years of operation. We anticipate that the next update will be held this evening. We will issue an advisory to confirm the date and the time of the next update later. Thank you.

QUESTION: What about the object that was on the runway?

BOYD: Ladies and gentleman, if you'll hold your questions we'll have a Q&A session after we've gone through the information from the Red Cross and the other representatives here. If you'll excuse me, I'd like to give you an update on the last two news releases that have been issued related to this situation.

First of all, late yesterday, there was a news release that was issued along with the list of accounted for and unaccounted for passengers from Singapore; in addition, the news release included a complete passenger listing of all the passengers that were on SQ flight number six. That passenger listing is, once again, available onboard the Singapore Airlines Web site which you can access at www.singaporeair.com. Once again, that's a list of the unaccounted for, the unaccounted for passengers and the total passenger list.

I can also give you some additional detail based on a news release that was issued late last night in Singapore. The latest information from the crash site at 16:30 hours local time confirmed that there were 79 fatalities and identified the 99 passengers and crew that have received outpatient treatment or been hospitalized. The whereabouts of one passenger is still undetermined. Once again, the names of the deceased will not be confirmed until the bodies have been identified.

Weather conditions at the airport in Taipei at time of the incident were within safe operational limits. An aircraft from another airline departed 15 minutes earlier than flight SQ006. Weather conditions had not changed since that time. The commander, Captain C.K. Foong, had flown to Taipei several times during October and was, therefore, very familiar with the airport.

Meanwhile, flight SQ8102, carrying 130 Singapore Airlines support staff, including 93 buddies took off from our Hong Kong airport shortly before 15:30 hours local time and was due to arrive in Taipei at 17:00 hours local time. SIA buddies are staff specially trained to support family members through such incidents. The plane had earlier been diverted to Hong Kong due to bad weather.

Another Singapore Airlines flight, SQ988, carrying 51 family members along with another 20 Singapore Airlines support staff departed Singapore at 15:30 hours and was expected to arrive in Taipei at around 19:45 hours local time -- that has taken place. That flight was originally scheduled to leave Singapore at 11:00 hours, but was delayed due to bad weather conditions in Taipei. I believe, you already have the contact information for the Web site to be able to access this information. I should also give you some additional information on the buddy program at Singapore Airlines.

ALLEN: A very hoarse spokesman, James Boyd with Singapore Airlines telling us that the weather condition were within safe flying guidelines at the time that Flight 006 attempted its take-off yesterday from Taipei, Taiwan. He said the commander was very familiar with the airport. He reiterated 79 deaths in this crash. One passenger is unaccounted for and, as we reported, 10 Americans among the dead. Also, Singapore Airlines reporting it will give $25,000 in immediate needs relief to people who lost family members this crash.

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