Premier Orders Assistance for Families Of Crash Victims With AM-Azores-Crash, Bjt
ROME (AP) _ Premier Ciriaco De Mita ordered the government to give ″maximum assistance″ the the families of 137 Italian passengers feared killed when a jetliner crashed in the Azores on Wednesday.
The Boeing 707, chartered from a U.S. company, crashed into a mountain while approaching Santa Maria airport in the Portuguese mid-Atlantic island chain. All 144 people aboard, including seven American crew, were believed dead.
The plane was bound from Bergamo, Italy, to the Dominican Republic.
President Francesco Cossiga, on an official visit to Mozambique, called Interior Minister Antonio Gava and asked him to express his condolences to the familes of the victims, the Italian news agency ANSA said.
The government said it was sending an air force plane to the scene with military doctors, nurses, Red Cross volunteers and firefighters to help recover bodies and to offer assistance to the Portugese.
ANSA said Italy also offered to help in the crash investigation and was dispatching invesigative magistrate Andrea Vardaro of Rome on the air force plane.
During evening news broadcasts, Italian television stations gave telephone numbers provided by the Foreign Ministry for people to call for information about the fatal flight.
A travel agent for Flamingo International Travel Consultant, which organized the trip, said some of the passengers were travel agents going to check out tourist facilities on the Caribbean island. The agent would not give her name.
Most of the other Italians on board were tourists from northern Italy, according to ANSA.