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Mon, Nov 20, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Report says SIA pilots are free to travel in Taiwan

AFP , SINGAPORE

Three Singapore Airlines pilots detained in Taiwan to help authorities with the investigation of last month's crash of flight SQ006 faced no restriction in their movements, a report said yesterday.

"[Although] the pilots have been prevented from leaving the country, they are actually free to move around in Taiwan," Singapore's Sunday Times quoted Minister for Communications and Information Yeo Cheow Tong (姚照東) as saying.

The three pilots, who all survived the crash, have been barred from leaving Taiwan pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Yeo was speaking at a media briefing in Taipei where he attended a memorial service for the 82 people who perished on board the Boeing 747 on Oct. 31.

The plane was carrying 150 passengers and 20 crew.

Yeo said the three pilots -- Malaysian captain Foong Chee Kong, and Singaporean co-pilots Latiff Cyrano and Ng Kheng Leng -- were still assisting authorities with the investigation into what caused the crash.

"My understanding is they are still actively helping in the investigation and they are being interviewed by the investigators from time to time," he said.

Taiwan prosecutors have hinted that they would charge the pilots with causing death by negligence.

Singapore Airlines officials have accepted full responsibility for the crash but demanded to know why the experienced pilot put his plane on the wrong runway.

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