Four More Bodies Found At Indian Ocean Crash Site
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Search teams found four more bodies today in the Indian Ocean near where a South African Airways jumbo jet crashed with 159 people on board. So far nine bodies have been retrieved, the airline said.
The crash occurred early Saturday after the Boeing 747′s pilot reported smoke inside the plane as it approached Mauritius for a refueling stop en route from Taiwan to Johannesburg. Only small pieces of debris have been found, and all aboard are presumed dead.
M. Bagaunt, civil aviation director in Mauritius, said the five bodies found Sunday were brought to the Mauritian capital of Port Louis early today and taken to a hospital for an autopsy. None of the recovered bodies has been identified, said airline spokesman Nico Venter.
Contact with the plane was lost 10 minutes before the scheduled landing, after the pilot, Capt. Dawie Uys, radioed to the control tower: ″There is smoke coming into the cabin. I think we have a fire.″
Ships from France, Mauritius, Taiwan and Japan are participating in the search, as well as spotter planes. South Africa today sent two airplanes, two helicopters and a navy ship to join the hunt, centered about 100 miles northeast of Mauritius.
Passengers on Flight 295 came from 12 countries. The lone American on board was identified from a passenger list as William G. Murless, South African Airways said. The airline did not release Murless’ hometown.
Officials would not speculate on the cause of the crash of the 747-200B ″Combi,″ a jumbo jet designed to carry both passengers and cargo.
Mauritius is an island chain 2,200 miles northeast of Johannesburg and about 500 miles east of Madagascar, a larger island nation east of southern Africa.