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The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Taipei
"The Taiwanese prosecutor says he is sure the pilot was never on the correct runway"
 real 28k

Friday, 3 November, 2000, 09:31 GMT
Crash plane was on wrong runway
Singapore Airlines wreckage
The wreckage is still on the runway at Taipei
Singapore Airlines says it accepts that the jumbo jet that crashed at Taipei on Tuesday was trying to take off on the wrong runway.

"We are sure that the aircraft took off from the wrong runway from the very beginning. It bumped into some steel items and heavy mechanical excavators and then exploded," said local prosecutor Song Kuo-yeh said.

Rescue workers
The plane broke into several pieces

Singapore Airlines had earlier dismissed speculation that the pilot became confused about the runways in bad weather, but now says that this was indeed the case.

"The aircraft was on the wrong runway, and we want to understand now how could this have happened," said Singapore Airlines spokesman Rick Clements.

Relatives of the 81 passengers who died have been arriving in Taipei to claim the bodies of the victims.

Flight SQ006 was bound for Los Angeles with 179 passengers and crew on board.

The black box flight recorder is still being examined and Mr Song could offer no explanation for why the plane might have been on the wrong runway.

Parallel runways

The pilot and some survivors have said they felt the jet hit something just before the crash broke the plane into three pieces and set most of them on fire.

One theory is that the plane started its take-off run on the correct runway, but then swerved to avoid an obstacle and crashed onto the closed runway.

However, no skid marks have been found on the grass between the two runways.

A tropical storm, Typhoon Xangsane, could also have contributed to the crash.

Relatives arrive

On Friday morning, more relatives arrived in Taipei on a Singapore Airlines flight from Los Angeles.

Khan Mahmood from Atlanta, who lost his sister and his parents in the crash, criticised Singapore Airlines,

"Initially, we were disappointed. The first day it was a frustrating experience," he said.

Relatives of the dead have begun to identify victims
There have been complaints that Singapore Airlines took too long to notify relatives about what had happened to the plane.

The relatives were taken to a memorial hall, where the bodies are waiting to be identified.

Coffins containing the remains of their loved ones are lined up in a makeshift morgue at the airport.

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See also:

02 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
International effort to find crash cause
02 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: The aftermath of disaster
01 Nov 00 | Americas
Counselling offer at LA airport
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