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Breaking News

Authorities Confirm Aircraft Collision Over Boca Raton, Florida

Aired June 23, 2000 - 1:00 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 plane down in Florida on the west side of Boca Raton. There are many conflicting reports right now. It's a developing story that we know the bare details of.

One thing we know for certain, that one plane is down. You see pieces of it on the ground at an apartment complex called Boca Grove. That's on the west side of Boca Raton. We do know that a small charter plane is a plane involved in this. It's a Lear 55. But early reports indicated two planes may have been involved. So we don't know if the pieces we are looking at are of the Lear 55. That's being referred to.

We do have an eyewitness on the line, Deborah Hartman.

Deborah, what did you see?

DEBORAH HARTMAN, EYEWITNESS: I heard a big explosion. It sounded like -- I thought a bomb had exploded or something. I came running out of my house and I saw a huge fireball erupt, pieces of debris kind of just flying. And also, to the right of where the fire explosion was up in the sky, there was a parachute coming down, which would have been probably north, northeast of where the accident was. Then shortly after that there was lots of sirens. You can still -- you can actually hear the helicopters flying around.

The accident is in Boca Grove on the golf course, which is a luxury gated community in Boca Raton, which has both condominiums and very exclusive homes..

WATERS: So just to clarify, the fireball you saw was a midair fireball.

HARTMAN: Yes, it started in the air and it went down. There were two booms. There was one boom in the air and one boom, like, within a minute after that.

WATERS: I'm now being told, Deborah, there was a second plane involved. Can you confirm that?

HARTMAN: I cannot verify that there was a second plane. I was not sure whether I saw a parachuter -- I know I saw a parachute, I do not know whether it was a parachuter coming down. I was informed that there are companies that do operate parachuting things in the area. And so far, if it was a parachuter, as far as I know, the parachuter hasn't been found.

But I was also informed that a plane had just taken off for the Boca Raton Airport, which is about exactly three miles from here.

WATERS: So you are three miles from the...

HARTMAN: No, I'm probably less than a half mile because the plane landed in the golf -- parts of the plane landed in the golf course community of Boca Grove.

WATERS: Are you a resident of Boca Grove?

HARTMAN: No, just outside of Boca Grove.

WATERS: OK.

HARTMAN: The canal behind our house backs up to the Boca Grove golf course.

WATERS: All right, Deborah Hartman, thanks so much for helping us sort this all out.

Initial indications apparently are true. The Boca Raton Sheriff's Department now has confirmed a second plane involved. We have heard nothing about that. We have one eyewitness report that it may have been a helicopter. If it was, we don't know where it may have crashed or if it crashed.

This is a developing story. We will keep track of all the pieces and put it together for you as we know.

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