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Rumsfeld on Return of EP-3 Crew, Plane from China

Defense Secretary on Return of EP-3 Crew, Plane from China

(States "the American people can be justifiably proud of the crew")

Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said April 11 that the Defense Department is working on the details of bringing home the 24 men and women crew members of the U.S. Navy EP-3 aircraft that made an emergency landing on Hainan Island after an accidental collision with a Chinese jet.

The secretary's statement following an announcement by the White House early April 11 that the United States had received verbal assurances from the Chinese government that the air crew would be allowed to leave promptly.

Following is the text of Rumsfeld's statement:

(begin text)

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

April 11, 2001


"Arrangements for the return of the 24 men and women of the U.S. Navy EP-3 are moving forward. The Department of Defense is working on the details of bringing them home as soon as the diplomatic arrangements have been finalized. Issues relating to the release of the EP-3 aircraft are still being discussed. The American people can be justifiably proud of the crew and their service to our country."

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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