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New York-bound British Airways Concorde Makes Unscheduled Landing

Aired July 31, 2000 - 2:42 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: A British Airways Concorde bound for New York made an unscheduled landing in Newfoundland, Sunday.

ITN's Lawrence McGinty has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAWRENCE MCGINTY, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Champagne and celebrities, like veteran singer Tony Bennett. The good life on Concorde, 50,000 feet up.

TONY BENNETT, SINGER: It's a pleasure meeting you.

MCGINTY: But then captured on amateur video the moment when the high-life turned sour, when last night's Concorde flight to New York was diverted two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MCGINTY: The crew told passengers someone had smelled fuel in the back of the plane. Some passengers were worried. Others, like Tony Bennett, took it in their stride.

BENNETT: Everything is fine.

MCGINTY: On the ground in Gander, Newfoundland, passengers disembarked to be shuttled to New York by a chartered conventional 737.

Musician George Benson seemed relaxed about the diversion.

GEORGE BENSON, MUSICIAN: Nothing I can really do about it.

MCGINTY: The ground staff took a good look at the wing and fuel tanks of the diverted jet liner. This was, after all, the third glitch for Concorde passengers, since the crash of the Air France plane, last Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was relatively uneventful, I think, considering the potential implications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were nervous, I mean -- you know, when you have an accident like that a few days ago, you're a bit nervous because, you know, it just happened.

MCGINTY: Nevertheless, this morning's Concorde flight from New York left Heathrow as normal. British Airways, unlike Air France, refusing to ground its Concorde fleet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe there's a cogent reason at this stage for British Airways to ground its airplane. If a reason came up, they would undoubtedly do it without -- without hesitation. But, from the public perception, they could not seem to be, not grounding it if a cogent reason arose.

MCGINTY: That reason might emerge soon, as crash investigators are meeting with the airlines and engine manufacturers in Paris to discuss how the disaster was caused.

Lawrence McGinty, ITN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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