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Police spokesman: Plane crash scene 'horrible'

The scene of Wednesday's plane crash in Charlotte, North Carolina
The scene of Wednesday's plane crash in Charlotte, North Carolina

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (CNN) -- A US Airways Express/Air Midwest commuter plane crashed on takeoff into a hangar Wednesday at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, killing all 21 people on board.

Charlotte police spokesman Keith Bridges spoke by telephone with CNN anchor Paula Zahn shortly after the crash, as rescue workers were responding to the scene.

ZAHN: It is very difficult for us from this perspective to tell the point of impact. Can you just describe to us what this wreckage scene looks like? We see part of the airport hangar just singed, black smoke all over it. Was that the point of impact?

BRIDGES: It was just outside the hangar. You've seen some blue metal structures, like scaffolding, which I assume they use to work on planes, and it's right around where that scaffolding is, just outside the hangar where the crash and debris is scattered.

ZAHN: Is there more debris inside the hangar?

BRIDGES: All of it's outside.

ZAHN: What can you tell us about the weather at takeoff time?

BRIDGES: Clear, cold and windy. No fog, very high clouds.

ZAHN: The FAA is confirming at this point that this was a Beechcraft 1900 turboprop. Do you know anything more about that?

BRIDGES: I don't, other than this was a fairly small commuter plane. So, that's really about all I can tell you right now. The plane is so destroyed there's really not much left to be able to see or to determine exactly what kind of aircraft it was, certainly from our vantage point. It's going to take someone who's very familiar with the aircraft to get in and look at the debris and make that kind of assessment.

ZAHN: Describe to us right now what is being done at the scene.

BRIDGES: Right now, it's just trying to contain everything right here, let the folks who need to get to the scene get up here to the scene. Once some inspectors start doing some things we will be able to start removing bodies. It's just a horrible sight. It's just horrible.

ZAHN: Can you give us a better idea of just how many people are involved in that effort right now?

BRIDGES: Hundreds. There's hundreds. Police -- we've got numerous folks out here. Fire, hazmat teams are out here obviously because of the fuel spill and the fire that took place. Medics, there's numerous units out here. The airport authority has folks out here. So there's quite a number of people at the scene right now.

ZAHN: And what is your chief concern from the police department's perspective?

BRIDGES: Right now, unfortunately because of what appears to be the outcome of this, we're just going to certainly try to keep the roads open, to keep emergency personnel coming in as needed. Investigators will be coming in. And to keep this scene secure. Because of the tragedy of the situation there's not a whole lot that police can do right now.



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