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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 1, 2000


In times of tragedy, the American people pull together as one and offer their prayers and solace to those in need. Today, our nation prays for the men and women who were aboard Alaska Airlines flight 261, and for their families and friends.

Since last evening, the United States Coast Guard has been on the scene engaged in search and rescue operations. The National Transportation Safety Board's Go Team arrives this morning and a joint command center is being established at the Port Hueneme Naval Center.

Underlying all these efforts is a strong and heroic determination to save lives and to find out exactly what went wrong, so that lives can be saved in the future. Throughout this difficult day, and in the days and weeks to come, we will keep the passengers and crew of flight 261 in our thoughts, and let us hope that God's mercy will shine on them and their families.