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Breaking News

USS Greeneville's Sonar Was Working at Time of Collision

Aired February 20, 2001 - 7:04 p.m. ET

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

WILLOW BAY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we've got some breaking news to bring you, so let's go to Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon with some breaking news on the USS Greenville -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Willow, Pentagon sources tell CNN that the USS Greenville's sonar system did in fact -- it appears to have been working and did appear to pick up the Japanese fishing boat that it eventually collided with, resulting in nine deaths and the sinking of that fishing vessel.

This is very preliminary data that sources tell us the National Transportation Safety Board has been able to extract from a data recording device that makes a record of the sonar readings. Now, sonar is a passive sonar used by the submarine is essentially listening to the sounds in the water. We know that the crew was not aware that the Japanese fishing boat was above it.

The question is why didn't they know? One possible reason might have been that the sonar wasn't working and didn't pick up the ship. From this little piece of information, we can tell you that it appears the sonar was working and did get a reading on this ship.

Now, the question is why didn't the crew recognize it was a ship? It could have lost it in background noise. It could have been not distinct. It could have been too uncertain for them to tell. We don't know that part, that's something the investigators will continue to look at.

But what this tells us is that it does appear that the ship's sonar system picked up the fishing boat. Now, it's unclear why the crew didn't recognize it as a ship and whether they should have been able to tell from the readings they got from the sonar -- Willow.

BAY: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thank you for the update. And of course, CNN and Jaime will continue to keep you up-to-date on that story.

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