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F-16 Pilot Safe; Marine Base Under Fire in Kandahar

Aired January 10, 2002 - 11:36   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to get back to our breaking story in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the crash of an F-16 plane, an Air National Guard plane. You are seeing pictures -- live pictures there of crash site. Doesn't look like there is much left of the plane.

The good news is the National Guard letting us know the pilot was able to eject clear of that plane before the plane hit the ground.

Our Miles O'Brien, our resident pilot on board with us here at CNN is in the Mojave Desert in California -- Miles, you went there to cover a completely different story, but we are able to call on you for your F-16 and aviation expertise, nonetheless.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, of course, I am standing next to Dick Rutan (ph), he is a legendary fighter pilot and test pilot and to call me an expert, I think would be --

(AUDIO GAP)

KAGAN: Miles, I think we are having a little bit of trouble with your audio there out of the Mojave Desert. As you mentioned, he has Dick Rutan (ph). Legendary fighter pilot, was showing with us earlier how he himself has ejected twice out of an F-15 and done it safely. Miles also sharing with us earlier that the ejection system on the F- 16 one of the most sophisticated, and clearly it worked well in this case.

As once again, we look at these live pictures from the south part of New Jersey where we believe that F-16 crashed earlier. We had heard and Barbara Starr out of the Pentagon had shared with us that these types of planes have been used to do regular patrols over Washington, D.C. and New York City, but it is not believed in this case that this particular plane was on that mission, rather it was a routine practice mission when something, of course, went wrong and the F-16 crashed. How are we doing with Miles' audio there, out of the Mojave Desert? No.

All right, so once again, just to review, busy morning here at CNN. Have the F-16 crash happening out of Atlantic City, and then out of Kandahar, kind of a gripping phone call we just had from Bill Hemmer about 10 minutes ago talking from that air base in Kandahar, as the first group of detainees, ten men, being taken, ten men being taken from -- actually, it is 20 men being taken from -- Yes, 20 detainees being taken from Kandahar to Cuba, to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba. These men put on board a military plane. The plane is probably going to have to make a stop somewhere along the way, because it is such a long trip from Kandahar to Cuba.

But, being taken in small groups, and as Bill reported, he was able to notice that the detainees have had their beards shaved. Not sure if they had it shaved in anticipation of this trip, or as soon as they were taken into custody, where they have been held at this Kandahar air base.

Bill also reporting, and this is kind of what made it such a gripping phone call, while this is taking place, while these 20 men being loaded on to the military plane, tracer fire taking place, and being aimed at this Marine facility in Kandahar, and he said everybody there, all of the Marines, were on a defensive position.

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