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CNN Today

Families of Kenya Airlines Crash Victims Seek Answers

Aired January 31, 2000 - 2:26 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: Kenya Airways now says at least 10 people survived the crash of one of its planes last night. One hundred seventy-nine people were on board. Crews are pulling bodies and debris from the Atlantic Ocean, just off the Ivory Coast in Western Africa.

CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALPHONOS VON MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scenes of agony and distress outside a Nairobi hotel doubling as an airline counseling center. Families of passengers on downed Kenya Airways Flight 431 came here at the request of Kenya Airways. They have little information on the fate of their loved ones.

Relatives forced to push through the crush of journalists to get in and out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please let me go. Don't ask me more.

VON MARSH: This man believes his brother was a pilot on the flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just tell me to wait at home.

VON MARSH: Officials close to the investigation tell CNN communication between investigators, the governments involved and the airlines have been, quote, "dismal at best."

Kenyan authorities on this plane are joining French and British experts already there. The investigation is currently being headed by the Ivory Coast. Families in waiting may be frustrated, but Kenyan government officials remain positive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under the circumstances, we believe that they have done a lot within the time that was available.

VON MARSH: More time is needed before determining why the plane went down, says Kenya Airways' technical director.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With regards to the pace of the investigation, as to the cause of the crash, that really is of secondary importance at this time. What is of importance is dealing with the needs of the families and the survivors.

VON MARSH (on camera): Behind these doors, crisis center psychologists are counseling family members. But their work is complicated, psychologists say, because many people seeking help here don't know whether to grieve or be thankful their loved ones survived.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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