NATION IN BRIEF : TEXAS : Plane's Tape Contains 'Whooshing' Sound

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A cockpit voice recorder picked up loud noises and a "whooshing" sound before a Continental Express commuter plane crashed into a cornfield near Eagle Lake, Tex., killing 14 people, Jim Kolstad, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said. "The tape (from the black boxes recovered in the wreckage) shows normal takeoff, climb and cruise," he said. "All of a sudden, there was a loud noise, followed a few seconds later by an even louder noise that was followed by a series of warning horns and messages.

Then there was a very loud whooshing sound." Kolstad said that there was no indication anything was wrong at any time. Investigators also discovered that the 11 passengers weren't wearing seat belts. Officials wouldn't speculate on whether the passengers and three crew members, whose bodies were found in the front or rear of the plane, were trying to flee a fire or other malfunction in the passenger section.

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