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Missing Plane Crashed in Colombia

Aired January 28, 2002 - 13:26   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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you now on this developing story we're talking about out of Ecuador. This word we're getting that a Ecuadorian State Airline plane with 92 people on board is now reported to be missing. No one has said yet exactly what has happened to this plane, but they have said that it has disappeared, and they've lost radio contact with it.

We are joined now on the telephone by Milagros Leon, who is a journalist in Quito, Ecuador, which is the city from which this plane had departed. It was on its way north, but it never arrived.

Mr. Leon, can you give us an idea of what it is you've learned lately?

MILAGROS LEON, JOURNALIST: Yes, hello. What the aviation officials just said is that they confirm that the plane has crashed. As you said, it was a commercial airplane, and it was reported missing this morning when he was making his regular route (ph) toward the north of the country.

The plane leave Quito at 10:00 a.m., and was supposed to arrive to Tulcan, which is a locality in the limit (ph) with Columbia at 11. It never did, but made a last contact minutes before without raising any emergency concerns.

In the first minutes, the people thought it was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) now they already confirm that the plane crashed in Colombian territory. That is territory that is owned by the guerrilla of Columbia, but there is not any issue raised (ph) in this area, yet.

HARRIS: Milagros, any idea about whether or not there were any survivors?

LEON: Not at the moment, there is no official report yet. They go for a press conference at 3:00 to give more information, but for the moment it seems that there is no hope that everybody -- the 92 persons that were in are all dead.

HARRIS: Can you give us a description of the area in which the plane is believed to have gone down. Is it a mountainous region we're talking about here, or is it rain forest or what?

LEON: It's mountain, it's a mix between mountains and rain forest. It's in the part that is going down to the rain forest, and it's -- it's a normal -- it's a populated area, not really the jungle.

But, as I said before, it's a guerrilla-controlled area in Columbia, so there is also this hypothesis going around, but at the moment there is nothing clear, and there will be a press conference around -- in two hours, more or less, to give more information about the issue.

HARRIS: Thank you very much. Milagros Leon, we thank you very much for you report for us on the telephone there, from Quito, Ecuador. Of course, folks, we will continue to update you on this story as we learn the details moment by moment here on CNN.

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