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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Josh Phagoo, Joel Phagoo

Aired August 12, 2003 - 20:02   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: From a missile smuggling plot to an alarming gap at security at one of the nation's best known airports, three boaters were able to walk undetected along a runway at New York's JFK International Airport after their boat washed ashore. They turned out to be harmless but authorities what could have happened and an investigation is clearly underway right now.
Those boaters join me from their home in Brooklyn, 13-year-old Josh Phagoo, his 21-year-old brother Joel, and their 13-year-old cousin Ahmed Sinonin (ph). Thanks to all three of you for joining us.

Let me begin with you Josh -- excuse me, Joel, what exactly happened? What were you doing out in the middle of the water over there and you got yourself caught up and you floated ashore?

JOEL PHAGOO, BOATER: Well, we left that evening about 6:30, you know, just planning on, you know, just doing some fishing as we have done previously before.

BLITZER: And what happened, the weather was bad and all of a sudden you got ashore?

JOEL PHAGOO: No, we were fishing for about an hour, an hour and 15 minutes, and it got really rough and I told these guys, you know, we have to go back in. There was a lot, you know, pretty soon we would have to go back in and about 15 minutes after that, you know, it got really bad.

The waves were crashing over the side of the boat and the wind picked up and when we tried rowing back, you know, we realized we couldn't because the boat kept turning around and going in circles so we headed for the pier.

BLITZER: So, you headed for the pier and then what happened you found yourself at JFK and what happened next?

JOEL PHAGOO: Well, after we climbed up onto the pier and walked out we realized that we were about 20 feet from the runway. Planes were landing in front of us, you know, taking off and we kept walking. We were trying to find a way out and trying to find the way, you know, trying to find somebody who could help us, you know. If we told them what had happened they would provide some assistance.

BLITZER: So, how long did it take before someone found you guys walking around the tarmac the runways, if you will, at John F. Kennedy International Airport? JOEL PHAGOO: Well, we were walking around the runway for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes before we went up the -- before we found, you know, some authorities who we thought could help us.

BLITZER: Hey, Josh, were you scared during that time as planes were landing and taking off clearly close by?

JOSH PHAGOO, BOATER: Yes.

BLITZER: What was going through your mind?

JOSH PHAGOO: I thought we were going to get hit by one of the planes.

BLITZER: Ahmed, is that what was happening in your mind as well?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I was a little scared but not the hitting part. I didn't think we were going to get hit.

BLITZER: When the authorities finally came upon you what did they say to you?

JOEL PHAGOO: They didn't come upon me. We kind of stumbled upon them. You know the first guy I spoke to he was in a truck and when he saw us standing out in front of his truck, you know, wet with sweat pants and tee shirts on, no airport uniform or anything he was shocked. He asked us what we were doing and we told him the whole story.

BLITZER: And everything was innocent so they let you go. There was no problem. Were they ever worried though that you guys could have been up to something no good?

JOSH PHAGOO: Well, they ran my name through the computer and stuff to see if I was wanted by the FBI or any organization like that but after they realized we were homeless they treated us pretty well.

BLITZER: All right, Joel and Josh and Ahmed, good luck to all three of you who were very lucky. Thank God nothing happened to you while you were roaming around JFK International Airport. That's a very busy airport as all of us know.

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