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Breaking News

Reports Say Passengers and Crew Survived Singapore Airlines Crash

Aired October 31, 2000 - 12:22 p.m. ET

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

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: There are survivors in an airline crash in Taipei this morning. A Boeing 747 went down. Official reports say there were no fatalities, although eyewitnesses CNN has interviewed say otherwise.

Right now, we're going to join ETTV in Taiwan, with English translation. They're broadcasting live. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): ... so we do not get the exact numbers of injured passengers. What Singapore Airlines information so far about the accident?

Singapore airlines just issued information at 11:30. Many of the top officials of Singapore airplane returned to their Taipei office. But as they all (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but they do not give a latest list of passenger names. But they do not give further information about that.

Singapore Airlines gives some further explanations. And he pointed out -- an official pointed out five passengers was in first class, eight is in economic class, 28 is in business class, and the rest in the economic class. But they still do not know the exact names of all the passengers right now.

We want to know exactly numbers of how many of them are Taiwan passengers.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) that two of the five first-class passengers are Taiwanese.

Currently, Singapore Airlines do not know anybody died because of the accident, but many of them received medical care at two hospitals near the airport. This is the serious accident in Singapore Airlines history.

Here just we see the injured victims' names at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hospital. Another actually, we have a -- have a question about Singapore Airlines. Why was it forced to take off at this bad weather conditions?

Singapore Airlines does not want to give further explanation. They just say everything is under study, is under investigation. MESERVE: You've been listening to ETTV out of Taiwan. As you can see from the pictures, the weather was severe in Taipei a the time of the crash.

Flip Spiceland joins us now. Flip, how bad was it?

FLIP SPICELAND, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There's a typhoon in the area. As a matter of fact, we believe the center of the typhoon is very close to the southern coast of Taiwan, although Taipei on the northern tip, but we think the center of it was very close to the southern tip of the island at the time.

You can also see the very bright orange on here, and what this is, is enhanced satellite photography, which means the highest cloud, the heaviest convection was right over Taipei at the time. You can clearly see that.

Generally speaking, in any tropical system, the most severe weather is in the northeastern quadrant, and that was what was over Taipei at the time.

We've been trying our best, as has Carl Rochelle, to find out if there were thunderstorms in the area, which would be one of the indicators of downburst wind: thunder, lightning. We have received any reported of that.

However, what we can tell you is that at the time of the crash it was raining very, very hard, and thus visibility was very, very low, and wind speeds were sustained at about 40 miles an hour, but gusting to 60 miles an hour, and the wind associated with the storm up over 100 miles an hour.

Some areas east of the mountains, which run right down to the center of the island, have received almost a foot of rainfall in the past 24 hours. Let me show what you is probably a more familiar graphic to those of you here in the United States. And by the way, it is Typhoon Xangsane. Xangsane seems to the pronunciation that everyone is using.

You can see the locater here on the map, wind speeds at 167 kilometers an hour. That would be at about 104 miles an hour. That's the top sustained wind near the center of the storm. And it's moving to the north-northeast at 25 kilometers, which is about 17 miles an hour.

That's Bad news, Jeanne, because what that means is the center of the storm would just hug right along the East Coast of the island, and we'll see bad weather there for about another 24 hour -- Jeanne.

MESERVE: Flip, thank you. We're going to talk to someone now, who I, imagine, is very relieved. A short time ago we interviewed John Diaz. He survived this air crash. Joining us now on the phone from Los Angeles, his wife, Nancy Diaz.

Nancy, your reaction when you heard your husband's voice? NANCY DIAZ, CRASH SURVIVOR'S WIFE: Well, relief. Actually, quite honestly, I didn't even -- he called me this morning at 6:30 Santa Monica time to tell me that he couldn't believe he was taking off, and then he -- I got another call at 7:30, and he had just got -- and he had just jumped out of the plane to tell me -- after it all happened, he said, you know, Nancy, you're going to hear all this over CNN. He goes, but I'm OK, I'm fine, and you know, I'm a little bit scorched -- not really scorched, but just upset, but he goes, I'm OK. It was bizarre.

So I didn't even -- you know, he called me before it even started broadcasting.

MESERVE: When he called you this morning and told you how bad the weather was, did you tell him to stay put?

DIAZ: Well, I -- you know, John's -- you know, he's from New Orleans. He's used to flying in the rain. And you know, so -- and he's wanted to come home, and I wanted to tell him, you know, you have a choice here, don't worry about it. But he felt that the airlines was a really safe airline and that they said that it was OK to fly and that it was OK. And he really puts a lot of respect in the airline. So, you know, he felt it was OK.

MESERVE: Why was he in Taipei?

DIAZ: On business.

(CROSSTALK)

MESERVE: And what -- go ahead.

DIAZ: No, he works for MP3.com and he was on business in Taipei.

MESERVE: And when he comes back, what are you going to do?

DIAZ: Give him a big hug and a lot more. I want to see him.

MESERVE: I'm sure you do.

DIAZ: Yes.

MESERVE: Nancy Diaz, thanks for joining us on the telephone.

DIAZ: OK.

MESERVE: And we'll be back with more coverage in just a moment. Stay with us.

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