December 21, 1995
Web posted at: 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT)
BOGOTA, (CNN) -- At least five people have reportedly been pulled alive from the wreckage of an American Airlines plane that crashed in the Andes in Colombia.
Reuters, quoting local Carocal radio Thursday, said as many as 17 people had survived the crash, but rescuers later denied the report.
American Airlines flight 965 was carrying 164 people en route to Cali from Miami when it smashed into Mount San Jose in clear weather Wednesday.
A team of FBI agents and seven U.S. aviation experts flew to Colombia Thursday to help investigate the crash. Rescue workers were already at the site.
An FBI spokesperson said a team from its disaster squad would help Colombian authorities identify the bodies.
Attorney General Janet Reno told reporters the agents were being sent to "cooperate and do everything possible to assist."
So far, Reno said, there was no indication that the crash was the result of sabotage.
American Airlines chairman Robert Crandall said the cause of the crash was unknown. He told reporters the pilots were "both very experienced people," but he said the crash site was "somewhat to the east of the course line we have set" for landing at Cali airport.
Boeing headquarters in Seattle said the company had sent a team of engineers to help investigate the crash, which spokesperson Liz Verdier said was the first involving a twin- engine 757, which entered commercial service in 1983.
"We know very little. All of us are terribly sorry that this tragic event occurred."
-- Robert Crandall, chairman of American (196K AIFF sound or 196K WAV sound)
The Boeing 757 was to arrive in Cali at 9:45 p.m., and lost radio contact five minutes before its scheduled arrival. It was only 37 miles from the city.
It apparently strayed from its flight path, but there were no reports suggesting a possible cause of the crash.
The jet went down in an area of heavy leftist guerrilla activity in Colombia. Crandall said the airline had never been advised by Colombian or U.S. authorities that it was hazardous to fly into Cali. (765K QuickTime movie)
The crash of the Boeing 757 was the most deadly involving a U.S. carrier since the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.
People wishing to receive information about passengers may contact American Airlines, toll free, at 800-245-0999 in the United States. In South America for English speakers the number is 980 11 00 10; for Spanish speakers the number is 980 11 00 11.
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