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Sunday

Debris from Plane Crash Stretches Nearly One Mile

Aired January 28, 2001 - 5:04 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: Federal investigators have begun their probe of yesterday's plane crash in Colorado which killed two Oklahoma State basketball players and eight others. That plane went down on a farm in the Denver suburb of Byers late yesterday afternoon.

CNN's Tony Clark is in Byers tonight -- he joins us live with the latest details.

Hi, Tony.

TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brian. It's not going to be an easy investigation; it is cold; the snow has been falling in spurts; there is snow all over the ground, making this tragedy even that much more difficult to investigate. You can look at the crash site behind me. It is shielded, pretty much, by the cars and buses of the investigators here. They have been working throughout the day at this crash site.

Investigators are here from the National Transportation Safety Board and also from the FBI's Evidence Response Team. As a matter of practice, the FBI has begun assisting in accidents like with the NTSB. According to the special agent in charge, though, there is no indication that this is anything other than an aircraft accident. Debris from yesterday's crash stretches for almost a mile.

CRAIG COLEMAN, SERGEANT, ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: There is lot of personal effects -- everything you could imagine you would you take on an airplane. It looked like there was a lap top there, some kind of VCR -- I don't know if that was part of the plane, day timer luggage, tennis shoes. cards -- all sorts of items like that.

CLARK: One of the interesting things that investigators have mentioned but they have not talked about the significance, is the fact that they found parts of the airplane in the debris area prior to the impact area. The spokesman for the NTSB said he would not label any significance to that one way or the other; it is simply something that they have found. Also, he indicated that they may take several days out here at this site to collect evidence, then move the evidence to a hangar some miles away, but as for the cause of the crash that claimed the lives here of ten people, that may, in fact, be some months away.

One other note, Brian, as for a black box that is often so helpful in investigations like this, NTSB saying no indication that there was one on this King Air. They do not expect to find one -- Brian.

NELSON: Tony, just to help our viewers understand -- when we speak of a mile-long debris path, normally, in the case of a plane crash, wouldn't that be indication that the plane may have come apart in the air, for whatever reason?

CLARK: You know, that's the indication. I think ,from the description of finding pieces of the plane prior to the impact area, and we are trying to get the NTSB spokesman to talk about that -- elaborate on it, and he simply wouldn't go into that. He simply said there were parts of the plane that were found in the area prior to the impact area, and in fact, Rick, if can you take a look, we have got an area that is out there where you can see a wind mill; and it stretches all the way into that area.

And then, if you come back into the site where the investigators are -- the cars and the trucks of the investigators -- that will give you just some idea of the kind of length that this debris field stretches out.

NELSON: All right, thank you for your assistance, Tony. CNN's Tony Clark in Byers, Colorado.

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