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Special Event

Alaska Airlines Spokesman Answers Questions on Crash of Flight 261

Aired February 1, 2000 - 12:41 p.m. ET

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

ROGER COSSACK, CNN ANCHOR: We take you now to Seattle for a briefing by Alaska Airlines spokesman Jack Evans.

(INTERRUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JACK EVANS, ALASKA AIRLINES SPOKESMAN: ... holidays and between the spring break period, so there are seats available and most of these passengers were non-revenue passengers flying on passes, so they fly on stand-by, and when there are open seats that's the aircraft they try to get on.

QUESTION: What was your reaction when you saw the number of (OFF-MIKE) Alaska (OFF-MIKE)?

EVANS: Well, I mean, your first reaction was, my God, there must be somebody on that aircraft I know, you know, so -- and for a number of -- a large number of people in Alaska Airlines there was somebody on the aircraft they know, so.

QUESTION; What are you telling families and friends now, some of these people?

EVANS: Well, the initial calls we made last night, and I would presume -- the notification calls, obviously, we have people that are specifically trained to make notification calls. They go through a day-long class and then recurrent training on a regular basis, and those calls were placed last night. And basically the -- what we do is we first attempt to make sure that we have the right family, make sure that we have the right name matches the right family. And then we let them -- in many cases, family members were already aware that their loved one could have been on that flight, and we let them know that at this point the aircraft has gone down in the water and we have no confirmation yet of whether their loved one was on board, but we do know that their loved one's name was on the manifest for that aircraft in the beginning.

QUESTION: How many people does the plane seat?

EVANS: MD-80 seats 140 passengers.

QUESTIONS: So it could have been a lot worse. There could have been...

EVANS: Well, yes, I mean, obviously, you know, it was about two- thirds of the way full.

QUESTION: Who officially comes up with the I.D.? What source does that come from when we know definitively who was on board?

EVANS: Yes, there are a number of sources for that information internally. I don't have that in hand, but I can try to find it out for you.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the MD-83 was what it was, right?

EVANS: Well, I generically call it MD-80. MD-83 is a derivative of the MD-80, so it's like a 737 derivative of, you know, 200 and 400 and 300 or 700, you know.

QUESTION: Is it a later version or a stretch version, or a...?

EVANS: Let me check for you. I believe it is an aircraft that we use for longer-haul flights, but I'd have to check it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

EVANS: Yes, at this point I have not received any word of any shortage of crews, no indication of cancellation...

COSSACK: We have been watching Jack Evans, an Alaska Airlines spokesman with a press briefing on the disastrous plane crash.

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