Body recovered from military crash off Namibia identified as German flight attendant
WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) _ The lone body recovered from a crash of a German Tupolev airplane and an American C-141 transport carrier off Namibia was identified today as a Berlin flight attendant.
Rescuers found the body of Saskia Neumeyer, 43, on Tuesday in the waters off the Skeleton Coast of this southern African country.
``It was instant death,″ said Maj. Gen. Gerhard Back, a German officer involved in search efforts.
None of the other 32 people, including nine Americans, that were believed on board the two planes has been found. Searchers said there is little hope anyone survived Saturday’s crash.
The planes collided while flying in opposite directions _ the Tupolev 154 from Germany to South Africa, C-141 from Namibia to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic.
Nothing had been heard since faint distress signals Sunday and early Monday.
Officials said German and U.S. officials flew tpday in two Oryx helicopters to examine a 17-by-33-foot piece of wreckage recovered late Wednesday by the French frigate Florial, one of three ships helping in the search.
The fishing trawler Yoko-Tani arrived in Walvis Bay Wednesday morning with pieces of debris on board, South African search officials said.
An American investigation team is expected to arrive today or Friday in Namibia, said U.S. Brig. Gen. John Brooks, commander of the 86th airlift wing.
Disagreements have surfaced between Namibia and Germany over why the two planes didn’t know about each other and why it took 20 hours from the time they disappeared before they were reported missing.
Seven aircraft continued today to search for bodies and the fuselages of the two planes despite poor visibility and a cloud base of 800 feet (240 meters).
``Unfortunately we cannot help with the weather,″ said O.V. Plichta, Namibia’s minister for works, transport and communication. ``It’s in God’s hands.″
Amid suggestions of massive communications breakdowns, Namibian and German officials claimed Wednesday they did nothing that contributed to the apparent midair collision.
The crash happened at approximately 35,000 feet some 115 miles off the coast. Air corridors often are shared, but planes traveling in opposite directions are supposed to fly at different altitudes.