Drug Informant Was on Plane That Crashed With PM-USAir Crash
Sep. 15, 1994
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A passenger on the USAir jetliner that crashed last week spent the day of the disaster with federal prosecutors in Chicago, discussing testimony in an upcoming drug trial, officials said today.
Paul Olson, 34, was released from prison earlier this year after serving nearly five years for trafficking cocaine, assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Prosperi said.
Investigators have not determined what caused the plane to dive nose-first into the ground Thursday evening, killing everyone on board. Although they have not ruled out any possibilities, they have found no link between the crash and Olson's presence on the plane, FBI spokesman Charles Mandigo said from Washington, D.C.
''There is nothing to indicate that he was anything other than a tragic victim along with 131 other victims,'' he said.
Crash investigators have found no evidence the crash was an act of sabotage or the result of a bombing, said Michael Benson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
''I would caution against anyone making anything out of this,'' Benson said.
Prosperi declined to disclose any details of the case he had discussed with Olson, saying only that they talked about the possibility of Olson's testimony in an upcoming drug trial.
Olson ''had a general agreement to cooperate'' with authorities, Prosperi said, and his sentence had been reduced because of the agreement. Prosperi could not provide details of the sentence.
Prosperi and Mandigo said Olson was not under federal protection for his agreement.
Investigators are examining the Boeing 737-300's wreckage for clues to the cause of the accident.