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CNN Today

Kenya Airlines Flight 431: Some Families Still Waiting to Learn of Loved Ones' Fate

Aired February 4, 2000 - 2:23 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Families in other parts of the world are waiting for information on the cause of another air crash. This one happened Sunday off the Ivory Coast.

As CNN's Ben Wedeman now reports, some relatives still are waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside a morgue in Abidjan, silent grief. In small groups, relatives of those who died Kenya Airways Flight 431 hesitantly go about the necessary but traumatic task of finding their loved ones among the corpses, many severely battered in the crash. The smell of death outside the morgue is heavy.

(on camera): The process of identifying the bodies is slow and painful and for some just too much to bare.

(voice-over): Collapsing under the weight of their grief, they had to look at dozens of bodies before finding who they were looking for. The few clinging to the chance their loved ones might somehow still be alive are losing hope.

CHRISTOPHER NJUGUNA, VICTIM'S RELATIVE: As time goes on, I don't believe being in a bush somewhere or being held in a hospital and (OFF-MIKE) outside in the vicinity or in a house or (OFF-MIKE), maybe in a coma. The longer I take, the less I hope.

WEDEMAN: Some of the relatives criticize the efforts of the Ivory Coast authorities as chaotic and bureaucratic. Others involved in the response effort say they're doing the best they can.

DAVID TREDREA, U.N. LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE: The first two or three days there was an element of chaos, but from what I've actually seen today and my experience in this kind of thing, the authorities here are actually doing their best to cope.

WEDEMAN: Divers have yet to recover dozens of bodies they believe to be trapped in the plane's fuselage under water.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Abidjan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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