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Bomb believed possible cause of DC10 crash

PARIS -- A preliminary report on the crash of a Turkish Airlines DC10 jetliner said today a bomb explosion could have brought down the widebodied aircraft which nosedived to earth from 13,000 feet Sunday, killing 345 persons in aviation's worst disaster.

Orly Airport sources said specialists had prepared a report for Airport Director Gilbert Dreyfus who is leading the inquiry. "The report states that the possibility of an explosion is supported by an important number of them," the sources said.

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Turkish airline sources in Istanbul said the airline had information that three Japanese and two Arabs aboard the crashed plane were guerrillas. They said the five had planned to sabotage a British Airways flight from Paris to London but were transferred to the Turkish plane because of a strike by British engineers in London and that their bombs exploded in flight.

The airline sources said there also was a possibilty the reported guerrillas were linked with the seizure later in the day of a British Airways jet after takeoff from Beirut. Arab commandos blew up the aircraft in Amsterdam after letting 102 persons on board flee the plane.

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Most of the victims in the Turkish Airlines crash were believed to be Britons, including a police amateur rugby team, although no passenger list was available. The number of Americans aboard also was not known but the U.S. Embassy in London said the victims included its cultural-attache, Dr. Wayne Wilcox, his wife and two of their children. Japanese Embassy sources said 49 Japanese were aboard. The Turks said there were 15 Turkish nationals on the plane. Turkish President Bulent Ecevit told newsmen in Istanbul:

"At present I cannot say whether the plane was sabotaoged or not but we are reviewing every possibility. The question of whether the plane was sabotaged or not will be cleared following technical examinations which I presume will last a couple of weeks."

Orly field sources said the passenger search before takeoff was normal and that the plane was searched for explosives and none was found. Hand baggage was searched but not the suitcases of the 216 persons who joined the flight in Paris.

Police said they found six bodies at a spot seven miles before the impact point. Newspapers said this could have happened only if the plane was breaking up as a result of an explosion or some other cause before it hit the woods.

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Eyewitness reports were conflicting. One witness said he saw the plane's tail break off. Another witness said the plane was intact until it crashed and that no fire or smoke was visible aboard.

In Ankara,Turkish Communications Minister Ferda Gulley said he could not rule out sabotage. Turkish pilots issued a statement saying the crash was the work of saboteurs.

The three-engined plane smashed into the Ermenonville Woods five minutes after takeoff from Orly Airport on a flight to London.

The U.S. Embassy said a delegation from the U.S. National Safety Transportation Board arrived in Paris and joined the investigation at the crash site. Turkish and French investigators also were at work.

The American officials are taking part in the inquiry because the DC10 was U.S.-built.

Airport sources said the black box tape-recorder was taken to the Civil Aviation and Space Testing Center at Bretigny sur Orge, 35 miles south of Paris, where experts began to study precrash flight data..

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