- Title: BENIN/LEBANON: LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS SITE OF AIR CRASH IN BENIN.
- Date: 26th December 2003
- Summary: (W5) COTONOU, BENIN (DECEMBER 26, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. GV/MV/CU: LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER JEAN OBEID ARRIVING AT AIRPORT; OBEID BEING GREETED AT AIRPORT; LEBANESE NATIONALS WAITING FOR MINISTER'S ARRIVAL (5 SHOTS) 0.24 2. GV/MV/PAN: MEMBERS OF LEBANESE ARMY SENT FOR SALVAGE MISSION UNLOADING EQUIPMENT FROM PLANE; LEBANESE ARMY SOLDIERS LOADING EQUIPMENT ONTO VEHICLES (2 SHOTS) 0.41 3. GV: EXTERIOR OF MAUNA CLINIC HOSPITAL 0.45 4. GV/MV/PAN/CU: PEOPLE STANDING IN HOSPITAL CORRIDOR; TWO SURVIVING PASSENGERS IN HOTEL BEDS (3 SHOTS) 1.00 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SURVIVING PASSENGER NABIL HASHEM, SAYING: "As the plane was taking off, it apparently hit something, maybe a post or something like that, so it could not take off. Fortunately we were close to the water and so it crashed in the sea. When I woke up everything was collapsing around me inside the plane. I found myself tied to the seat." 1.46 6. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SURVIVING PASSENGER KHEDR HASSAN FARAHAT, SAYING: "The plane crashed as it was taking off. Everything was collapsing around me, but somehow I managed to come out into the water." 2.08 7. GV/CU/MV: LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITING CRASH SITE, CUTAWAY WRECKED COCKPIT (3 SHOTS) 2.26 8. CU: WRECKAGE ON BEACH AND IN SHALLOW WATER 2.31 9. VARIOUS: PLANE WRECKAGE WITH LEBANESE ARMY PREPARING FOR SALVAGE OPERATION; MORE OF WRECKAGE INCLUDING AIRPLANE SEAT, CHILD'S PACIFIER AND SHOE (7 SHOTS) 3.06 (U4) KHARAYEB, LEBANON (DECEMBER 26, 2003) (REUTERS) 10. VARIOUS: WOMEN MOURNING CRASH VICTIMS; CENTRE OF VILLAGE WITH PEOPLE GATHERING OUTSIDE BUILDING; MEN PREPARING COFFINS (8 SHOTS) 3.52 11. GV/MV: PEOPLE GATHERED IN HALL TO MOURN DEAD AND PREPARE FOR FUNERALS (3 SHOTS) 4.07 12. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MAYOR OF KHARAYEB, SAYING: "This disaster that happened is very painful for all of us and hurts us all deeply. It has affected the entire country because the victims are all our sons and daughters." 4.17 13. GV/PAN: PEOPLE SEATED IN HALL 4.27 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Reuters ID: LVACH1A3QE4K3BYMKS1QPS7WFK0N
- Location: COTONOU, BENIN/ KHARAYEB, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon Benin
- Duration: 00:04:28
- Story Text: Rescuers battle to find bodies from Benin plane
Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid arrived at
Benin's airport on Friday (December 26). The Lebanese
official was greeted by Benin officials as well as a crowd
of Lebanese ex-patriots.
Obeid was taken to the UTA plane's crash site where he
inspected the wreckage. Meanwhile, the Lebanese army
division began to prepare for their salvaging operation at
the wreckage site.
Prior to Obeid's arrival the Lebanese government had
sent a delegation to Benin to find more answers and
coordinate the return of the injured and dead.
At least 100 Lebanese nationals died after a plane en
route to Beirut from the West African country of Benin
crashed Thursday (December 25). Prior to its stop in Benin,
the plane had taken off from Guinea.
Lebanese families had rushed to Beirut International
Airport after news of the plane crash was reported by
Reports say that the plane crashed shortly after
take-off as an explosion occurred forcing the plane to veer
into a building and crash onto the near-by shore-line.
One of the surviving passengers described the accident.
"As the plane was taking off, it apparently hit something,
maybe a post or something like that, so it could not take
off. Fortunately we were close to the water and so it
crashed in the sea. When I woke up everything was
collapsing around me inside the plane. I found myself tied
to the seat," Nabil Hashem, a 29-year-old Lebanese from
Cotonou said from his hospital bed.
"The plane crashed as it was taking off. Everything was
collapsing around me, but somehow I managed to come out
into the water," Khedr Hassan Farahat, another survivor,
Lebanon's Middle East Airlines has already sent a plane
with a medical crew on board, which will eventually bring
back home the injured and the bodies as early as Friday
night. Police began an inquiry into why the airliner,
belonging to the Lebanese-owned Union des Transporteurs
Airport officials said the plane had difficulty
retracting its undercarriage after takeoff.
It was not immediately known how many people were on
flight UTA 141, which could carry 141 passengers and crew.
Most of those on board were Lebanese but some were from
Benin, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
In Lebanon, families of the plane crash victims mourned
their loss Friday (December 26).
In the southern village of Kharayeb, where nine of the
victims were from, families prepared coffins and a funeral
hall in anticipation of the arrival of the bodies.
"This disaster that happened is very painful for all of
us and hurts us all deeply. It has affected the entire
country because the victims are all our sons and
daughters," the mayor of the village said.
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