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Gulf Air Crash: Recovery of Recorders Easy in Shallow, Clear WaterAired August 24, 2000 - 1:01 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: The tiny Gulf nation of Bahrain is in three days of official mourning for the victims of yesterday's plane crash near Bahrain International Airport. Gulf Air Flight 072, en route to Bahrain's capital from Cairo, Egypt, crashed into shallow Gulf waters just short of a runway it had circled twice. All 143 people on board were killed. It took just hours to recover the victims' remains, as well as the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
And joining us now via videophone with the latest on that is CNN's Brent Sadler -- Brent.
BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Natalie.
In the last couple of hours or so more than 100 relatives have flown into Bahrain from Egypt to see for themselves what's happened at the crash site, and also to try and identify from some very harrowing and disfigured photographs of the bodies that were recovered from the sea so they can claim their loved ones; a process which is going to take many hours.
Let's first of all look at what we do know, taking a look at this area just a couple of miles short of the main runway at Bahrain International Airport. Earlier today we could see a huge debris field, about 1 1/2 square miles, its extent. And right across that area, thousands, countless thousands of aircraft pieces, many larger chunks of airframe, including sections of tail as well as the landing gear, were picked up by divers from the Bahraini side, as well as United States divers from the Fifth Fleet who are based here in Bahrain. Big pieces were taken ashore after the main thrust of recovering the bodies of the 143 people on that aircraft was completed.
Now there are many, as they say, tens of thousands of fragments of that aircraft which disintegrated in the shallow waters, just a few feet deep in many places. And high on the list of targets, as far as picking up evidence clues, was recovery of two recorders, the essential black box, the data recorder. That was picked up by divers first, a relatively easy task given the clarity of the waters and the shallow depth. That was followed several hours later by the cockpit voice recorder, that now in the hands of investigators.
Now Bahrainis have asked for help from the manufacturers of the A-320 Airbus. They're flying into Bahrain as well as French aviation experts, as well as officials, crash experts, from the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States. They will combine their efforts to try and establish what happened in the final moments of this aircraft flight at the end of what had been a trouble-free journey, it seems, from Cairo to Bahrain. What happened in the last minute? that's what they are going to look at, why there was no distress signal from the plane as it tried to land for the third time here at the international airport.
Back to you, Natalie.
ALLEN: All right, it's such a mysterious crash, Brent Sadler from Bahrain, thank you, Brent.
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