Germany, U.S. To Salvage Planes
Nov. 07, 1997
BONN, Germany (AP) _ Salvage crews in the South Atlantic have located wreckage on the ocean floor in an area where U.S. and German military transport planes with 33 people aboard apparently collided.
Germany wants to retrieve the debris jointly with the United States but is waiting to hear from U.S. officials on when they would be ready to begin the operation, Defense Minister Volker Ruehe said Friday.
The German Tupolev-154 and the American C-141 apparently collided Sept. 13 off the Namibian coast. No survivors were found.
The Tupolev was headed from Germany to South Africa; the U.S. plane was flying from Namibia to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
The cause of the crash has not been established.
U.S. and German searchers using sonar equipment located several large fields of debris in recent days that ``in all probability'' are from the two planes, the Defense Ministry said.
The wreckage is at a depth of about 2,600 feet, he said.
Starting Nov. 18, an underwater drone _ a small, unmanned submarine fitted with a video camera _ will be dropped to start identifying the debris parts, the ministry said.