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America's New War: Tracking Cell Phones and Beepers in Wreckage

Aired September 18, 2001 - 06:37   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Some people desperate to find out information on missing loved ones in New York are pinning their hopes in high-tech wireless technology.

As CNN's John Voss reports, some are turning to experts who track signals from cell phones and beepers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VOSS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of miles from the disaster zone in Atlanta, the search for survivors, not by digging through rubble or by using sniff dogs, but by searching for electronic signals from cell phones and pagers.

KARL RAUSCHER, WIRELESS EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM: Have you been contacted by this person since the building has collapsed?

VOSS: A week ago just hours after the terrorist attacks, Cal Roche formed WERT, the Wireless Emergency Response Team.

RAUSCHER: We are coordinating down there with the U.S. Marshal's electronic surveillance unit. Are you in contact with them?

VOSS: He is a senior executive in the communications industry working with another 100 volunteers and a team at the site equipped with special frequency sniffers. They can pinpoint cell phones and pagers, which are still on. Right now, they are chasing six hot cases.

RAUSCHER: If we could rescue one life, this is all worth it. We're going to do everything we can.

VOSS: For Lucy Loguidice this high-tech search is a lifeline to his sister, Kathy, even though there has been no signal from her cell phone.

LUCY LOGUIDICE, SISTER OF MISSING WOMAN: I know her phone is with her, and if it didn't blow up, she has it on her somewhere. She has it on her. I just hope they can find her.

VOSS: But the odds are long and getting longer by the hour. By now, even the best cell phone and pager is running low on battery power, and the frequency sniffers are limited. They can detect signals no more than three feet below the rubble.

RAUSCHER: But you can't stop. There's no way that, you know, we could stop doing what we're doing.

VOSS: The electronic sniffers can also eliminate false alarms confirming even if a phone call for help came from the rubble. But more importantly, for those with loved ones still missing, it's another avenue of hope.

John Voss, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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