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Military Accident: United States F-18 Fighter Drops Bomb on Crowd in KuwaitAired March 12, 2001 - 2:20 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: We have a story breaking in the Persian Gulf Region. We're gathering initial details of the story, which, apparently, will have significant dimensions.
Jeanne Meserve, you have anything more? Maybe you can recap this for us.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have very sketchy information at this point. But let me tell you what we do know from government sources.
There has been, apparently, a military accident in the Persian Gulf region: A U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet, we're now hearing -- U.S. Navy F-18 Hornet -- flying over a Kuwaiti training area accidentally dropped at least one bomb into a crowd of people -- government sources telling CNN that there have been casualties, perhaps as many as a dozen, perhaps some American and some Kuwaiti.
CNN sources at the White House, at the Pentagon, and in the Middle East are working this story, trying to gather more information for you. We will bring it to you just as quickly as we can. But, once again, a military accident over Kuwait apparently claimed up to a dozen lives -- Lou, back to you.
WATERS: Jeanne, do we know anything about the Kuwaiti training area, who might have been in that area?
MESERVE: I tell you, I am only reading the briefest of notes at this juncture. And we are told that there could be both Americans and Kuwaitis there. But we do not know anything at all yet about exactly where this happened.
WATERS: All right.
MESERVE: We'll bring you that information as soon as we've got it.
WATERS: Understood. We're trying to pick up more information and add it to the story from here -- Natalie Allen, you're next.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have a correspondent on the line with us, Lou, from Kuwait City. Miriam Amie is with the Germany News Agency. Miriam, what can you tell us about what has happened there today?
MIRIAM AMIE, GERMAN NEWS AGENCY: Yes, hello.
The exercise was taking place in Al Udairi in northwest Kuwait, south of the Iraqi border, this evening. It was a joint U.S., Kuwaiti and British air exercise. There was some confusion and one of the aircraft accidentally hit a parked vehicle or several parked vehicles on the ground that were being used as guides, or as markers, for the air exercise aircraft.
There are fatalities. We don't know how many there are. We know we are talking several fatalities and several injured. One fatality was a New Zealander. This is what my military sources are telling me right now.
ALLEN: You said, Miriam, that an aircraft accidentally hit parked vehicles -- that -- we -- our initial information was that an aircraft may have accidentally dropped payload, a bomb. That's not correct?
AMIE: Oh, it could have been a payload. I don't know what incited the explosion. I don't know why the targets were struck. I don't know. But I can find out. We will find out shortly.
ALLEN: The information you have is that there are deaths.
ALLEN: And the number is less than 10?
AMIE: We don't know the number. We know that one identification has been made. One fatality is one New Zealander. We're talking casualties, fatalities, and serious injuries.
ALLEN: What kind of people -- who would be in this area during such an exercise?
AMIE: Military service people -- U.S., British and Kuwaiti service personnel would be there, involved in the exercises, as well as observers -- military observers. My understanding is that the New Zealander was a military observer.
ALLEN: Do you know how many aircraft were taking place in this exercise?
AMIE: No, I do not know that.
ALLEN: How far are you from this training area?
AMIE: I'm in Kuwait City, which is, oh, over 100 kilometers south of the training area.
ALLEN: And do you know what time this took place?
AMIE: It took place this evening. I don't know the exact time. ALLEN: Was it nighttime? Was it dark?
AMIE: It was this evening. I was told it was this evening.
ALLEN: All right. And, again, you're information, Miriam, if you could repeat it, was that an aircraft may have hit some parked vehicles in the area.
AMIE: That's correct.
ALLEN: OK, we thank you, Miriam Amie with Germany News Agency.
We will continue to try to gather more information. As we are just now hearing about this story, our information was that, during this training exercise, an F-18 Hornet accidentally dropped payload during this exercise. That information was that an aircraft may have struck some structures on the ground, causing some serious injuries and some deaths in the northwest part of Kuwait during a joint exercise.
We will continue to gather information -- this story just unfolding. And, as you heard her say, this happened at nighttime there in Kuwait. So we will continue to check it out.
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