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U.S. Navy Ship Rammed; 4 dead, 30 InjuredAired October 12, 2000 - 7:56 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this is a morning of breaking news. This just in, an urgent passing over the wires that four U.S. sailors have been killed, 30 others injured on their Navy ship, which was docked in an African port, when a small boat collided apparently on a suicide mission.
We go now by telephone to CNN's chief Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre for more on this story.
Jamie, what do you know?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are investigating this, at this point. It has all the earmarks of a terrorist attack. As you said, four sailors dead, dozens injured on the USS Cole that was docked in the port of Aden in Yemen, on a routine refueling stop.
Initial reports are that a small rubber boat, known as a Zodiac, approached the rear of the ship, colliding with the ship and creating an explosion. And as I said, killed four sailors,injured dozens more. The injury estimates at this point are between 20 and 30 additional sailors on the USS Cole.
At this point, it appears that this Zodiac rubber boat was loaded with some sort of high explosive. And so it does appear to be a suicide -- not necessarily a suicide attack but a terrorist attack. At this point, it's unclear whether there was anybody on the rubber craft as it approached the destroyer. It hit the rear of the USS Cole, an aegis-class destroyer, blowing a large hole in the hull and creating death and injuries.
So this having about 1215 local time, midday, while the USS Cole was in port of Aden on a routine refueling stop.
Again, initial reports suggest that it may in fact be a terrorist attack against the United States.
LIN: Now, Jamie, the wires are reporting that that hole you just mentioned was as big as a 20 by 40 feet in that destroyer. I just want to confirm once again, did you say four U.S. sailors killed?
MCINTYRE: That's the initial report, four U.S. sailors killed, as many as 20 or 30 additional injured on the USS Cole.
LIN: Jamie, any idea of what the motive would be?
MCINTYRE: At this point, they don't have a motive, although the United States has remained on high alert in that region for possible terrorist attack for years now. So, at this point, it would just be too early to speculate.
LIN: So where do U.S. officials begin their investigation then?
MCINTYRE: Well, initially, they will be trying to figure out exactly what happened. The reports they have now are based on observations from the ship, that the rubber craft was heading directly toward and collided with the USS Cole, a aegis-class destroyer, and of course the initial concern is to take care of the injured and to sort out what happened, and then there will be an investigation.
LIN: All right, thank you very much, Jamie McIntyre.
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