ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
US

College choir group on Arkansas jet performed for Kosovars

Fuller
Fuller

 ALSO:

Crash survivors recall 'panic, craziness, flames'

InteractiveINTERACTIVE

See a photo gallery of the events surrounding the crash

 MESSAGE BOARD:

Air Safety

American Airlines hot line:
American Airlines has set up a hot line for people seeking information about the condition of passengers on Flight 1420:

1-800-245-0999
RELATED VIDEOS
CNN's Aram Roston talks with survivors of the crash
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

Carla Koen, a passenger on the plane, spoke in a phone interview with CNN from her hospital bed
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K

On Wednesday morning, American Airlines held its first news conference since the crash (video courtesy WFAA)
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K
 

June 3, 1999
Web posted at: 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT)


In this story:

The pinnacle tour

'We hit hard and we bounced'

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) -- A college choir group returning from a European tour that included singing to Kosovar refugees was on the American Airlines jetliner that ran off the runway, broke into pieces and burst into flames.

The choir, known as The Oachita Singers, left about two weeks ago shortly after classes had ended for the semester.

The group toured Germany and Austria, with stops in Munich and Frankfurt in Germany, singing at schools and churches. The choir also performed for Kosovar Albanian refugees who were staying in temporary homes in Salzburg, Austria.

The pinnacle tour

Dr. Charles Fuller, the choir director at Oachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, and his wife Cindy, also a music professor, had accompanied the 31 members on the trip -- described as the singing group's pinnacle tour of the year. During the semester, the choir sings mainly at churches and schools in Arkansas.

Twenty-five students were on the plane when it went off the runway; the other students had boarded different planes at the Dallas airport to go home for summer vacation.

One student, Kristin Maddox, remained hospitalized late Wednesday in serious condition with unspecified injuries. Another student, a senior with a church-music major, was unaccounted for -- and neither his parents nor the university have heard from him since the accident, officials said.

Fuller's 14-year-old daughter, Rachel, was in critical condition at Arkansas Children's Hospital with burns over 50 percent of her body and is expected to remain hospitalized for about two months.

The choir director and his wife as well as two other daughters -- Becky, 16, and Sarah, 14, -- escaped injury.

'We hit hard and we bounced'

Fuller said he had been sitting by the emergency door reading a book when "we hit hard and we bounced." He said he helped several passengers get out once "the plane stopped moving," including an elderly man with a broken leg.

"We saw flames coming in and I just peeled off and headed for that door so I could get it open," he said. "I crawled out on the wing and just starting pulling people through."

David Ozmun, an assistant professor at OBU who had accompanied the choir group, said the plane stopped abruptly "as if the whole airplane just died" and he and others jumped off a burning wing.

"The wing was on fire near the fuselage and I just got out there and I knew I had to just jump off," said Ozmun.

At the university, a small liberal arts school with 1,600 students about 65 miles south of Little Rock, the campus was filled with a range of emotions as word of the accident spread and that their students were aboard.

"When we first hear about it, it was just shock and disbelief," said Deborah Root, an assistant professor of mass communications. "We're just so thankful that so many did survive."



RELATED STORIES:
Investigators probe scene of American Airlines crash
June 2,1999
Pilot, eight others dead in Arkansas crash
June 2, 1999
FAA investigating close call with 767 and Concorde at JFK
May 25, 1999
TravelGuide - Justice Department sues American Airlines
May 13, 1999
TravelGuide - American Airlines pilots association to pay $45.5 million fine
April 16, 1999
The battle over flight data recorders
April 15, 1999

RELATED SITES:
American Airlines
Little Rock National Airport
Little Rock Chamber of Commerce
  • Southwest Hospital
State of Arkansas Online
  • Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
National Weather Service
National Transportation Safety Board
Boeing
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.