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CNN BREAKING NEWS

At Least 16 Dead in Helicopter Crash in Vietnam

Aired April 7, 2001 - 15:06   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: And we have breaking news, a little bit more information on a story that we've been bringing you for a short time. Seven Americans and at least nine others are dead today, victim of a military helicopter crash in Central Vietnam.

Our Eileen O'Connor is at the Pentagon with the latest for us -- Eileen.

EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pentagon officials confirm that the seven Americans who died in that helicopter crash were part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting, is what it's called, and their mission is that they go around Vietnam in these chartered helicopters that they charter locally from companies there in Vietnam with mainly other Vietnamese officials and they go to sites where perhaps there were battles during the Vietnam War or perhaps there were plane crashes, areas where there might be some remains of Americans missing in action.

President Clinton actually went along on one of these excavations when he went to visit Vietnam last November, and you can see how these teams work. The seven Americans being, in fact, members of one of these teams. They go through these sites. They sift through the dirt. They try to find bone fragments and other material remains of anyone in the ground and then they gather it up and carefully package it and send it back to Hawaii where there is a central identification lab in Hawaii, and forensics experts there try to find some DNA material and them match it to records that they have on the Americans that are still missing in action.

Again, these seven Americans who died in that helicopter crash were members of these kinds of teams -- Donna.

KELLEY: Eileen O'Connor at the Pentagon. Thank you.

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