ABC News on JFK Jr Missing Plane

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ABC News on JFK Jr Missing Plane

briefing at the Pentagon that is due to take place and begin any moment now and what it does we will join it but in the meantime just to update you most of the family the Kennedy family and friends have been assembled at the family compound in Hyannis Port they have obviously postpone this wedding they held a Mass this morning to pray for the safety of John Kennedy jr. and his wife I mean sister-in-law everyone hoping that if in fact something went wrong with the plane he was able to still put it down safely and perhaps these survivors of the plane could have possibly been ashore someplace else looking for a way to phone in to folks and let them know they’re okay at this point once again it’s a single-engine Piper Saratoga tail number in nine two five three considered to be a high-performance single-engine airplane and we now have a briefing beginning at the Pentagon today ladies and gentlemen we have brought together this afternoon because this is a an easily used facility both the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard and to try to describe to you what each of those organizations is doing in the search for John Kennedy’s aircraft I will introduce momentarily Colonel Johnny Whitaker from the Air Force and then we will have the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia that’s done in Southeast Virginia that is where the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is located we will have a lieutenant colonel Steve Roark ro AR K will be talking to you and he will describe what the Air Force has been coordinating since early this morning you’ll be free to answer your ask your questions through the microphones over your head when that is done I’ll introduce commander Mike Lipinski from the Coast Guard here in Washington DC LAPI NS ki and we’ll have again on the phone the first Coast Guard district headquarters in Boston Rear Admiral Richard Larrabee Larr a b e e he is the commander of the first Coast Guard district up there ambassador and again you will have the opportunity to answer their questions you’ll hear it coming to the speaker and on the other side so that’s our intention this afternoon okay any questions on mechanics before we get started conventional spelling Rear Admiral Craig Quigley crai g qu IG l ey Department of Defense public affairs and bacons deputy okay Colonel Johnny Whitaker as the deputy director of Air Force public affairs here in the Pentagon and we’ll start with him what we’ve got just some basic background in when we get lieutenant O’Rourke on the phone here he can he can fill in the details the Air Force was notified the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is the official name of the organization at Langley Air Force Base it’s actually in Hampton Virginia which is just north of Norfolk in the Tidewater area received a call through the FAA around three o’clock this morning that mr. Kennedy’s aircraft was overdue and they began their search and rescue efforts and again I’ll let the core work explain in detail what that will be they’re searching along that presumed flight path between Essex County Airport near Caldwell New Jersey and Martha’s Vineyard they’re also looking around Martha’s Vineyard Long Island Sound and the South Shore of Long Island right now the air force has involved an H c-130 aircraft which is we use for search and rescue it’s an Air National Guard aircraft out of Gabreski field in New York and it is acting is the airborne air traffic control aircraft coordinating the efforts of 15 Civil Air Patrol aircraft which are the Civil Air Patrol is the official civilian auxilary of the United States Air Force it’s of all interior organization that participates in some 80 percent search and rescue type of operations mostly the search portion of the operations that occur in the United States today with those 15 aircraft or approximately hundred six Civil Air Patrol personnel they’re conducting searches from the air over land and along the shorelines there they’re

usually single-engine Cessna piper type aircraft generally general aviation I’m sorry some are owned by the Air Force summer privately and they’re looking for a Piper Saratoga which is the type of aircraft that mr. Kennedy was flying it’s a six seat monoplane low wing single-engine with retractable landing gear that’s pretty much it just the this is a normal procedure the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center the mission of that organization it’s the single agency responsible for federal search and rescue and the 48 contiguous United States generally we do these in conjunction with other agencies in this case the Coast Guard we also will assist on the search and rescue efforts in Canada and Mexico if needed and they are involved in another search effort currently which is a mountain climber in Oregon there’s a missing climber in Oregon so it’s not just downed aircraft they look for lost people lost aircraft they’re very busy 24 hour operation ABC is reporting that the plane possibly went into a dive about 19 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard does that mean you’ll start pulling away from other areas of defect you’re getting let me let me let Colonel or address that because he’s the expert in that in fact let me go ahead and get him on Lieutenant Colonel Steve Roark ro AR K he’s currently the director of the US Air Force’s national search and rescue school which is at the US Coast Guard Station in Yorktown Virginia he is the former director of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center he is physically in the Rescue Coordination Center right now Colonel Roark is a HH 53 helicopter pilot he’s personally been involved in over a thousand rescues search and rescue operations in his career and Steve are you there yes sir I am here okay we’re gonna open it up to questions for you Martha Raddatz from a bee the ABC is reporting today that the plane possibly went into a dive about 19 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard does that mean the search will start focusing right there and you will pull away from say Long Island or other areas or searching or will you pretty much go about what you doing well we’ll continue on the same track that we’re on which is to search the entire area we have nothing that absolutely 10 points one area as opposed to another so we can’t rule out the entire flight are you hearing those reports at all about 19 miles off Martha’s Vineyard I’m sorry the radar indicated that at some point that the plane may have gone into and dive Oh the radar position is just a last possible position and it’s can’t even be confirmed that that it’s the aircraft we’re looking for so again we can’t rule out any other areas Campbell Brown with NBC News there’s been reports coming from the area that possibly a shoe or some wreckage may have been found already can you confirm or deny those reports I have no knowledge of that actually I was gonna ask about the wreckage myself but colonel the the radar signatures we’ve heard a number of reports as ABC mentioned about the plane disappearing from radar can you say where this evidence is coming from is that from local radar is that from an area radar is that satellite imagery that we’re talking about now how exactly do you track when a plane leaves the radar well we work very closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and they’re in route traffic control centers and these are these centers are primarily concerned with aircraft on IFR flight plans however they do have the ability to track almost any aircraft that’s out there however they are limited by altitudes so an aircraft going off the radar could simply have been descending to shoot an approach at an airfield and that that may be why it went off radar Kirk this is Admiral Quigley here from the Pentagon again could you start off please with a description of what assets are involved and what areas you have them deployed in and kind of as a scene center here yes sir currently we have as Colonel Whittaker mentioned we have 15 aircraft from five different sub we’re patrol Wings in the Northeast region they are primarily because they are single-engine light aircraft sticking over over the land and very close to the land looking over

shorelines and those types of areas we have two helicopters hh-60 helicopters from the 106 rescue wing that are over over the water since they are twin-engine air aircraft we feel safer using them over the water and they are searching those areas along with the hc-130 which is providing command and control and also doing some searching that’s Air Force and then we have two helicopters from the Coast Guard also providing over water search along with my understanding is at this time two boats from the Coast Guard out in that area exactly when the the US government was notified of the lost plane and how long it took for the first planes to be out searching and what were they and and how this search differs from a search of somebody who isn’t a celebrity well we treat all searches the same there is no difference between celebrity or non celebrity or job is for all the citizens of the United States and I believe it was a approximately 3:00 a.m. local time that we got the the information from the FAA that the aircraft was overdue they had received word from family members our routine at that point is to start investigating because a large proportion of these overdue aircraft do turn up simply at an airport somewhere so we started our investigation which turned up no results we started working very closely with a Coast Guard at that time because of the the water involvement and I believe the Coast Guard was the first agency to launch aircraft that around 7:30 to 755 this morning and then we’ve added aircraft as the day wore on can you talk about the beacon and wind up went off and actually how it works and why we would hear it at a certain time and not others certainly all general aviation or most general aviation aircraft are required to carry emergency locator transmitters which are built to be crash activated so if if the airplane actually did impact somewhere the ELT is supposed to go off and then we have the ability through both satellite technology and from other aircraft that are flying to to hear the beacon and try and locate it my understanding was that there was a very short beacon heard sometime this morning but we we’ve heard no more about that haven’t been able to pinpoint any activity or even be assured that it’s associated with a missing aircraft water due to a beacon well the depth of the water would certainly make it harder to to transmit they are built to be somewhat water resistant but I don’t have all the details on that but at certain depths there they’re not going to be able to transmit Linda Killian from People magazine I just wonder if there’s any information about why when the plane was expected in about 9:30 if there’s any idea why you were not notified until 3:00 in the morning and how important those hours were in terms of actually finding a plane now well again we get our notifications of overdue and missing aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration the only way they learned about it since there was no flight plan filed was through the family reporting at the overdue and as soon as they got that information we started working at would it have made any difference I don’t think so because of the the night and and our standard research procedures how long dessert using for the four-hour delay between when you first learned of the missing plane and when the first plane went out looking for it and and and am i right in in understanding what you said before that there are no additional planes searching for this particular Lost plane and there would be a peak if John Kennedy was a completely unknown person I’ve had experience in several of these searches in it and it’s not unusual to have dozens of aircraft searching for anybody that’s missing so this is not unusual the planes and helicopters are looking for that person actually we that person is a known location it’s a climber that was injured on a mountain up there he has some internal injuries and we’re using again

an Air Force Reserve unit out of Portland to to go pick that person up because the the capabilities of the aircraft I can’t speculate on that right now before about what what the reason was for the delay between notification at 3:00 a.m. and starting the search four and a half hour five hours later again I wasn’t here at that time frame but I know it does take time to to to research we look at possible other landing sites and just try to gather information rather than just sending aircraft out willy-nilly we we do try to to look at and and do investigation and come up with a good plan rather than than just sending them out helter skelter is that c-130 out of West Hampton VCU National Guard upon this one yes that’s the same true they went up in search of TWA 800 that unit was involved in a search for TWA 800 and in fact I believe they had a helicopter and a c-130 from that unit as that accident occurred the unit the same you see the unit’s up again today on this one Colonel what technology is being used to actually pick up the beacons signal you’d mentioned satellites and other types of equipment that could pick it up do the Civil Air Patrol planes there she have transponders that could pick up the beacon or are you using any even intelligence or satellite assets for that well there’s uh there are two ways to do this all of the aircraft involved in a search the Air Force a Coast Guard and is aware patrol aircraft have direction-finding equipment this beacon is a is a very simple puts out a signal on a specified frequency and anybody monitoring that frequency could hear it however all of the aircraft involved in a search have the ability to Direction fine to that signal if there was one now the other part of the system is a system that’s been in use internationally for coming up on 20 years now and that’s called the search and rescue satellite-aided tracking system which also monitors for these signals and has the ability to to determine a location if the signal is heard for a long enough time you have any sense of what sort of radio communication there was from the plane during the flight that they check in with New York or Long Island or Boston or the Cape do you have any awareness of that I only know for sure that they did not talk to the tower at Martha’s Vineyard along the route they may have spoken to to somebody but certainly not at Martha’s Vineyard certainly not and mother they never made contact with the tower at Martha’s Vineyard that’s my understanding you’ve been searching since 7:55 a.m. this morning do you all have any leads have you come up with anything at all that’s helped you narrow your search somewhat are you essentially right where you started this morning we’re still concentrating on the entire route of the flight this is this is not uncommon in fact this is somewhat of a smaller search than what we’re used to we do this all the time here we have hundreds of overdue aircraft every year in fact us that this is smaller than than what I would call the average search time we’re into right now in terms of the coverage the the area involved this is has been described as approximately a thousand square miles it’s not unusual to have missions involving tens of thousands of square miles and does that mean that you dedicate more assets to search like that than you went to this one it would take more assets yes Colonel Walker you mentioned that no flight plan was filed is that normal even when the visual flight rules are in place or the instrument flight rules are in place that’s that’s very normal as a matter of fact the majority of VFR aircraft do not file flight plans whether was ok last night was was the instrument flight rules in place last night I have no knowledge of that and I’m not sure of mr. Kennedy’s ratings colonel you talk about not wanting to send planes out helter-skelter willy-nilly and yet those hours seemed like they would be critical if in fact someone was down and injured you send out someone right away if that

possibility existed well if there was the ability to communicate or for example if this ELT was going off any aircraft in the area to include aircraft on approach into New York and pay JFK places like that would have heard it and you were made aware when you were notified at about 3 a.m immediately that that this plane was believed to be carrying John Kennedy Jr I’m not sure of that what exact time was the first beacon heard I don’t know that information either you have a rough time no I don’t I didn’t bring that information with me and is there a location on these this beacon signal early reports said that that was more along Long Island as that does that accurate I believe that’s correct I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of Montauk work one of our correspondents was flying in the area that night and well he said initial reports that conditions were good it was visual flight rules but he found that when he was in the air that it was actually very hazy and the not as clear as the earlier weather reports do you have any indication or if you talked to other pilots who were perhaps flying at the time that perhaps the weather was not as good as it was originally reported no I I have not done that I haven’t spoken to to anybody else about the weather Steve if you’ll stay on the line we want to get the Coast Guard up here and we make them back to you in a minute yeah but you won’t hear but you won’t hear from the speaker’s because we’ll need to put the coast guard up on this same set of speakers okay what an infection okay the next person that I’d like to address coming let me address one thing for lots of questions on weather and other things these are the folks that are doing the search okay as opposed to the weather over the flight path last night so they’ll they’ll we’ll try to help you as much as we can but a lot of the areas that I fully understand you’re going to be interested in these guys are not going to have the answers that you’re looking for along those lines I’m sorry commander Mike Lipinski is with the Coast Guard here at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington DC and he will be followed again by Rear Admiral Larrabee from Coast Guard district headquarters up in Boston first district gladly good afternoon I wanted to let you know that I would be available afterward to talk about Coast Guard policy and to line you up with additional Coast Guard spokesman in the field the Coast Guard is responsible for maritime search and rescue throughout the United States maritime regions and typically conducts up to 50,000 search-and-rescue missions in a typical year admiral Larrabee has that Mulla quickly pointed out we’ll be on the phone shortly to take some of your questions and to provide you with some information as commander of the first Coast Guard district he’s in charge of Coast Guard operational assets from the Canadian border down south to offshore from central New Jersey he controls all Coast Guard air and sea surface assets in that region and the folks that work and answer directly to him are the search and rescue coordinators up in Boston that are managing the the maritime aspects of this particular case at molarity are you there Admiral Larabee are you there sir yes I am thank you sir did you want to open with a statement sir I am NOT in my office and not I’m in actually in a car on my way to my office and I’m not sure I know you’ve started the press conference so I’m not sure where we are I’m Elaraby this is Avril quickly could you start with a scene setter if you could of what Coast Guard assets are involved and some of the coordination efforts in your area of responsibility since notification this morning general we were notified by a friend of the Kennedys that about 0 to 15 this morning that he was overdue and with that notification we immediately contacted the FAA who put out a search for the aircraft we had gotten a report from the airport that a satellite did occurred on a ELT locator beacon off the tip of

Lorien points Long Island that indication was that it was over land but we also sent out a vessel searched the area pretty thoroughly and couldn’t couldn’t pick up any debris or any indication of a problem since then we have launched the Coast Guard aviation assets to 860 s search in the area for Martha’s Vineyard to the tip of Long Island a Coast Guard jet hu 25 15 Long Island that in coordination with an Air Force c-130 searching without show Long Island at that time we have gotten better information from both the airports and the FAA through radar analysis of a better location better possible location and we are now centering our search about 17 miles wet why this vineyard the approach to want to spend your airport vacation or that we may have found some debris and Bri that you found and give us more detail and specifically what it was how much whether you’ve been part of the plank I’m sorry I could not hear that question can you elaborate a little bit on the debris that you all may have found the information that I got which is just come in and needs to be confirmed though is that we found a piece of luggage and we’re trying to confirm that map what time what time did you first find a debris it just been in the last couple of minutes that I get notification of it the water depth in this area I can’t I can’t give you that information the temperature I can get it to you but I don’t I don’t have that with me could you also tell us and explain to us why there might have been a beacon going off on Long Island is this something that happens fairly regularly that you get these false beacons if that’s what it was the 121 five beacon that went off is his typical of those types of devices we get a high fall alarm rates on those as the kind of device this was picked up by a satellite we investigate all of those this one turned out to be a negative thickness by the time we get out there the signal it ceased and there were no indications in the area that there was an advancement and are there any reports of beacons being indicated in the Martha’s Vineyard area or is it just the debris not to my knowledge I have no Chris plane was CNN you just said that there was some indication that that there are reports that you had just in that luggage was found in the wreckage west of Martha’s Vineyard we’re hearing that the name Lauren Bassett was on the luggage can you can you confirm that or do you know whether that’s true one way or another I can’t personally confirm that at this point is that something that you were told yes it is I’ve been told that there was some sighting and debris we are investigating it I can’t give you any more information than asked that why you’re limiting the search to this particular area off of Martha’s Vineyard that’s where you found the luggage and that’s why you’re concentrating it there now this is very recent information up until now we have been searching basically the track line that we suspected that the that they flew last night and we have been trying to focus the search in a much more concentrated area obviously this information along with the information from the FAA and the Air Force to be very helpful tracts that you analyzed show Kennedy’s plane early in its flight profile and then disappeared later tracks I can’t answer those questions I’ve been in touch the FAA all day and and they have been working very hard at analyzing all of their radar information the information we have currently is that the best location they had when they lost contact with what they believe was mr. Kennedy’s plane over 17 miles what about this venue you have any sense of what communications were like on the flight up the airport Sports didn’t really have a good handle on that but said that they did not check in with Martha’s Vineyard could not say where else they may have checked in do you have any handle on that no sir I don’t I I’m not aware of any any conversations whatsoever during the flight did you confirm that there were three people on board there were some reports that there might have been four is that your information that it was John F Kennedy jr. and Carolyn Kennedy and her sister Lauren I can’t confirm that information my role in this is to do the best job we can to locate survivors were for debris and that’s what we’re working on I can’t confirm the number of people on board you were notified by a friend or

someone telling you this missing plane what did they say when they called about who was on the information that I got with the call was made at zero 2:15 this morning to our Operations Center at Coast Guard group Woods Hole on Cape Cod that information was immediately relayed to our Operations Center in Boston which got in touch with the FAA which began this whole process you know who was it called Woods Hole Admiral I don’t have the name with me right now well can you explain why there were five hours between the time that you did the Coast Guard first learned that the plane was missing and that the first plane went up searching for the place are you talking about the time between about 3 o’clock in the morning and 7:30 exactly once we notify the FAA they go through a very detailed effort to communications check check of airfields check of their information as far as flight plans are concerned to determine whether or not there was in fact the flight and and what their plan was that was the process that was underway we did get a call at about 0 3:30 this morning from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center we said that they did have an ELT go off as they mentioned earlier on Long Island on land and asked us to see if we could just mo precautionary standpoint check out the area along the shoreline there we did that and those things were going on until it’s all about 7:30 when we decided to launch Coast Guard aircraft now it’s my understanding that prior to that the airport’s had had launched Civil Air Patrol aircraft doing shoreline searches at five estates that potentially the best but if it in you guys describe a little bit what that area 17 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard is like and how the luggage was found was it just bobbing in the water and you know people spotted it or I wish I could give you some more details but I simply can’t sir can i interject here okay all of a sudden the wreckage it’s been sighted has magically become luggage okay those are not Admiral Larabee’s words please understand okay that there has been wreckage sighted okay okay amber laramie no you’re absolutely right I can’t confirm that it’s luggage the only information I have and we’re working on that now is that there was stuff debris sighted and we’re investigating that okay as I must remind you first reports are often wrong please let’s just say that we found something and we’ll figure it out as quickly as we can sir if I could if in fact this is an area where the plane went down would it be routine to try to recover that aircraft no matter the depth of the water right now we’re trying to locate survivors that would be the next phase but we have and Noah with with one of their research vessels to potentially get involved in this case and at some point we may ask them to do a subsurface investigation forth but at this point we’re still very hopeful that we’re going to find survivors Admiral because because they did not file a flight plan did that take longer or make it more difficult to initiate the search I think you’d have to ask the FAA that question that that’s the role that they play in this along with the Air Force search and rescue center we were supporting that operation until about 12:45 today at which time major-general Key and I agreed that becomes the search with Knab