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Breaking News

Twenty One Confirmed Dead After Plane Crash Near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Aired May 21, 2000 - 2:06 p.m. ET

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

GENE RANDALL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Gene Randall in Washington.

As we have been reporting, a twin-engine charter plane went down today near the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania airport, we are told 21 confirmed deaths, a crew of two and 19 passengers.

Our correspondent Carl Rochelle has been working the phones to get the very latest on this.

Carl, what have you learned?

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gene, some details, a bit sketchy at some points now, because they really need to get in and learn all of the details as they're working through this. We're told it was a B.A. -- B as in bravo, A as in alpha -- 31 twin-engine turbo prop, it may have been operating under United Express. Its tail number was November 16 E.J., and there is a service that flies charters, Executive Jet Aviation, and it could or could not have been one of their aircraft. But that's what we are trying to find out.

Now, also officials from the FAA who told us that. Now, here is what we are told that the airplane did. It made an ILS, an instrument landing system approach, the weather was very poor in the area, according to sources. On its second attempt at an instrument approach, the airplane went down nine miles south of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, it was trying to make its approach at Wilkes-Barre, that was about 11:40 this morning. There was a report from the crew that they were having some sort of engine problems. Sources say it is believed that both engines had shut down and they were able to restart one engine.

But a lot of those details of course will have to be sorted out in the end of that. The weather was very poor in the area at the time, the visibility was about three miles, cloud cover down to about 1,500 feet, and visibility down as low as 300 feet in some parts of that area, which would be one of the reasons that they shot the instrument approach trying to get in there. The actual crash took place near Bear Creek province in Pennsylvania.

National Transportation Safety Board has put a go team together, getting them on the way, heading them up into that area. And some of those details about exactly on the type of aircraft and exactly its mission, whether it was charter or operating as a commuter jet will come out when we get some more details in, but that's what we know for now, Gene.

RANDALL: Carl Rochelle, thanks very much.

Once again, a twin-engine turbo prop airplane crashed today near the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania airport. We are told there are 21 confirmed deaths, 19 passengers and a crew of two. More details as they become available.

Now back to "CNN WORLD REPORT."

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