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Special Commission Holds News Conference on Texas A&M Bonfire CollapseAired May 2, 2000 - 2:01 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: Texas A&M University is about to issue its report on the collapse of that bonfire last November. Twelve students were killed.
Let's check in now with the news conference going on in Texas and see what they're talking about.
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LEO LINBECK JR., CHAIR, BONFIRE COMMISSION: ... to become clearer to us all. And grant us all the strength, courage and wisdom to act according to the truth. We humbly ask this in your name, amen.
I'm joined here this afternoon by my colleagues, Hugh Robertson (ph) from Dallas, Bud Shivers (ph) from Austin, Veronica Callahan (ph) from El Paso, and Bill Tucker from Fort Worth. Each of the commissioned members serve in pro bono capacity without compensation.
The charter of the special commission has been to determine what caused the collapse of the 1999 bonfire. Our purpose today is to communicate these findings to all of you here and to the public at large.
Let me start by saying that this has been a very difficult task. It was difficult not only because determining the cause itself proved very challenging, but also because we were continually reminded of the tragic elements surrounding the collapse and the various serious nature of our inquiry.
In this regard, and on behalf of the commission, I'd like to reiterate our dedication of this work to the memory of those who lost their lives in this tragedy. Many fine people in the A&M community helped us make this effort possible -- far more than we can acknowledge here today. A few merit special consideration and thanks, however, and we'd like to take this minute to recognize them:
Dr. Ray Bowen (ph), who has been under considerable pressure during this trying period has spared no effort in marshalling the full resources of the university to support our effort. Without his dedication to a thorough and independent inquiry, our task would not have been possible.
Dr. John Weiss (ph) of Mechanical Engineering Department whose invaluable assistance and full-time dedication helped us understand the history and physical aspects of bonfire as well as...
WATERS: All right, we're about to get the final conclusion of the investigation into that 90-year old tradition -- the bonfire tradition, what went wrong last November -- shortly. Leo Linbeck, the chairman of that commission, is addressing the public and the press right now. We have some audio difficulties, as you can tell, so as soon as we hear what the answers are to the questions being asked about why that gigantic stack of logs tumbled last November and killed 12 people and injured two dozen more, and whether or not that tradition of bonfire at Texas A&M will continue -- as soon as we have the lowdown on it, we'll pass it along.
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