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From: Davor <dwagner@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

From: Davor <dwagner@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU>


Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 4th, 1996 1:07 CST

Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and a dozen corporate executives from major US companies were on a plane which crashed over Bosnia earlier today, possibly due to bad weather. The plane was a military version of the Boeing-737.

Shortly after take-off Brown's plane dropped off the radar scope and was reported missing only minutes before IFOR's crash statement by a U.S. government official in Washington.

In addition to Brown there were 30 passengers and an as yet unnamed General. French Helicopters are assisting in a Search & Rescue operation in the area. Dubrovnik Hospital is on alert to receive casualties.

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said:

"Ron Brown's plane is down in Bosnia. The wreckage has been sighted. They are investigating," Reno told reporters in announcing that a speech by President Bill Clinton had been cancelled.

"I think we should all pray at this point," Reno said.

The plane crashed in the waters near Dubrovnik, on Croatia's Adriatic coast.

Although no cause has yet been given for the crash, bad weather is one possibility. It was raining heavily. Croatian Airlines flights to Dubrovnik were re-routed to the Adriatic port of Split, 120 miles to the north.

According to an official at Zagreb's airport meteorological service:

``Conditions were very bad. Wind was...not too strong but visibility was poor -- about 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) which is very bad. Vertical visibility was 300 feet (90 metres), which is extremely bad. Coupled with pouring rain it's extremely band conditions.''

Brown, 54, was leading a delegation of U.S. business executives on a commercial mission looking into reconstruction projects in the war-torn former Yugoslav area. U.S. officials said it was not known which, if any, of the executives might have been with Brown on Wednesday's flight

As many as eight of a dozen leading executives scheduled to have been with Brown could not be accounted for after the crash.

Among executives listed as corporate participants for Brown's trip, eight were unaccounted for:

Parsons Corp., an engineering company in Pasadena, Calif., confirmed its Chairman Leonard Pieroni had been travelling with Brown but had no information on whether he was on the flight.

ABB Inc., a Norwalk, Conn., based subsidary of Asea Brown Boveri AG, said its Chief Executive Robert Donovan had been scheduled to travel with Brown but had no further information.

Construction group Bechtel Corp. of San Francisco, said it did not know the status of Stuart Tholan, president of its Europe/Africa/Middle East/Southwest Asia unit.

Other companies whose executives could not be immediately accounted for included Bridge Housing Corp. of San Francisco.

Harza Engineering Corp., based in Chicago, said Chief Executive John Scoville had been on the flight's manifest but could not say if he had boarded the plane.

Air & Water Technologies Corp., Somerville, N.J., declined to comment on the status of Chairman Claudio Elia

Riggs International Banking Corp. of Washington declined to comment, as did Barrington Group of Miami, on the status of their executives scheduled to have been on Brown's trip.

Brown had been scheduled to meet Croatian officials in Dubrovnik and deliver a speech outlining U.S. policy in reconstructing former Yugoslav republics.

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