S. African Jet Carrying 159 Feared Down In Ocean

Posted: November 28, 1987

JOHANNESBURG — A South African Airways jet carrying 159 people from Taiwan to Johannesburg was missing today, and authorities feared the plane had crashed into the Indian Ocean, an airline spokesman said.

Nico Venter of South African Airways said the crew sent an emergency signal when the aircraft was 50 miles from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean saying there was smoke in the cabin.

A representative of the South African Airways office in Taipei told the Associated Press that officials in Mauritius had informed them there was a fire in the cockpit.

Venter said Flight Number SA295, a Boeing 747 with 140 passengers and 19 crew members, departed from Taipei and was scheduled to arrive on the island of Mauritius, 600 miles west of Madagascar. The flight was to continue to Johannesburg.

He said, however, that the flight was five hours overdue, and officials feared the jumbo jet had crashed into the Indian Ocean.

"South African Airways are doing everything possible to locate the missing Boeing 747," Venter said.

"Search and rescue operations are in progress under the control of the Mauritius government, assisted by French authorities on the nearby island of Reunion," he said.

"At this stage no further information is available," he said.

The South African air force was prepared to join the search, he said. The operation was being monitored by President Pieter W. Botha and his cabinet ministers.

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