Prosecutor implies coverup in plane crash

Jan. 15, 2004 at 9:44 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Lebanon's state prosecutor hinted of a possible coverup in the plane that crashed in the sea off the west African state of Benin Christmas Day.

The disaster left 130 dead, including 83 Lebanese nationals.

"All government departments concerned are coordinating among each other and cooperating with the judiciary," Adnan Addoum told Lebanon's Daily Star. "But it is strange how pieces of information are coming to us in bits and pieces."

Addoum warned "measures will be taken by the judiciary if something seems to be not right."

He also accused Guinea, where the plane is registered, of not cooperating with the Lebanese investigation.

Addoum said he asked the Lebanese Embassy in London for the whereabouts of Darwish Khazem, whose father is the owner of the plane.

Khazem was among the few who survived the crash. Flight-data recordings showed he asked the pilot to take off in spite of his complaint about exceeding the allowed weight limit.

The chairman of Lebanon's Public Works, Transport, Energy and Water Committee, Mohammed Qabbani, has said the reason for the crash was overload.

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