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Breaking News

Gulf Air Airbus A320 Crashes in Persian Gulf

Aired August 23, 2000 - 2:03 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The news is from the Persian Gulf where a Gulf Air Airbus A320 has crashed in the water off Bahrain into the Persian Gulf. We just received word of this crash moments ago. This aircraft apparently taking off from Bahrain and was scheduled to land in Cairo.

This is a picture of an A320. Gulf Air is the national carrier of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. According to a spokesman we talked with a short time ago, Saeed al Bably, with the Ministry of Information in Bahrain, it appears the plane was having serious trouble after takeoff. Here's what he had to say"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAEED AL BABLY, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION: The plane was flying from Bahrain to Cairo. It was not coming from Cairo to Bahrain...

ALLEN: Thank you.

AL BABLY: ... it was flying from Bahrain to Cairo. And there was a fire in one engine. And it went down in the sea near Bahrain International Airport. Right now, we don't have any more information about any survivors. That's all that we have right now.

ALLEN: Well, so it had just taken off then?

AL BABLY: Yes, yes.

ALLEN: So we want to be clear. Our information was incorrect. this plane took off from Bahrain. It was on a scheduled flight to Cairo, Egypt.

Do you know if there is a rescue effort under way?

AL BABLY: There is. The effort is under way right now and the crown prince is there at the airport. And his highness, the emir, is ordering all the necessary arrangements to see if there is any survivors in the area.

ALLEN: How do you know that there was a fire in one engine? Was this from communication with the pilot after takeoff or from witnesses?

AL BABLY: Not yet. It's not clear yet, but I think it was from the contact with the airplane before it went down.

ALLEN: All right. And do you know how deep of water that this plane went into, how difficult it might be for rescuers to try and reach it?

AL BABLY: I don't have any information about that.

ALLEN: Can you say again how many people were on this flight?

AL BABLY: Right now I don't have any more information about the number. But if you give me a call after five minutes, I might be able to help you.

ALLEN: We certainly will, and we thank you so much for talking with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: So we expect to talk with Saeed al Bably again when he can contact us with more information.

This Airbus A320 can hold up to 180 people. And again, as he said, we don't know how many people were on this flight. We just learned that Bahrain TV has announced to the public that the plane has gone down. But, again, we're still waiting to get any more details on whether there could possibly be survivors from this plane crash in Bahrain today.

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