- MARTHA'S VINEYARD
- As the Kennedy family broke its silence for the first time Monday,
investigators said they've learned more about the final moments before
John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.
- Preliminary data indicates that the plane plunged very
quickly into the ocean, falling 335 metres in 14 seconds.
- That's much faster and more precipitous than they previously
believed the plane dropped, about ten times the normal rate of descent.
- Meanwhile, Sen. Edward Kennedy, John's uncle, released
the family's first public statement on the tragedy. He said the Kennedys
are filled with "unspeakable grief and sadness" over the death
of John, his wife and her sister.
- "We loved him deeply, and his loss leaves an enormous
void in all our lives. "
- The Senator visited Monday afternoon with John's sister,
Caroline, at her home in Long Island, N.Y.
- Divers are still looking for the missing plane, but the
mission was called off mid-afternoon due to bad weather.
- The U.S. Coast Guard is still hoping to retrieve the
bodies of Kennedy, his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and her sister Lauren.
The three died after a plane, piloted by Kennedy, crashed into the sea
- Coast Guard Rear Adm. Richard Larrabee said authorities
are concentrating their search on "a couple of targets" identified
by the Rude, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research
- "These are simply potential targets and don't necessarily
represent an aircraft or part of it," he said Sunday.
- Jerome Frechette of the National Transportation Safety
Board said it may take as long as two weeks to recover the wreckage of
- The NTSB is now analyzing radar and flight data. So far
there is no indication as to whether the plane crashed because of technical
failure or pilot error. The NTSB says the investigation could take as long
as a year.
- In the course of the weekend's search, investigators
found some items believed to have been on the plane. They also discovered
bits of foam insulation believed to have come from the airplane. Investigators
said the size of the fragments indicate a severe breakup on impact.
- Kennedy, his wife and her sister took off from New Jersey
Friday night. They were apparently dropping Lauren off in Martha's Vineyard,
before heading on to the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport. They were to
attend the wedding of his cousin, Rory, daughter of the late Sen. Robert
F. Kennedy. The wedding was cancelled.
- Cards and flowers outside Kennedy's Manhattan apartment
The Kennedy family has been plagued by tragedy for three generations --
from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert in the
1960s, to the Chappaquiddick scandal involving their brother Ted, and
- The Kennedys are the closest thing the United States
has to royalty and its every triumph and tragedy has been carefully watched.
- The disappearance of John Jr., considered the most promising
of a new generation of Kennedys, has sent waves of shock and concern across
the United States.