The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 3, 2000 - 7A
Search for survivors called off
Fighting the cold h
PORT HUENEME, Calif. (AP) -^ Investi-
gators said yesterday they are looking into
reports that the Alaska Airlines jetliner that
plunged into the Pacific Ocean had problems
with the aircraft's tail controls in a flight
* Authorities also began analyzing record-
ings of the pilots' conversations with a Seattle
maintenance crew made while the pilots tried
to control the plane in the terrifying moments
before it nose dived into the sea Monday,
killing all 88 aboard.
The plane crashed after a pilot reported
problems with the horizontal stabilizer, a
wing-like structure on the tail that keeps the
plane flying level.
Dozens of ships were ordered to abandon
the search for survivors and shift their focus to
*ecovering flight recorders and wreckage that
could explain why Flight 261 went down about
10 miles off the Southern California coast.
The search was officially called off over the
protest of some family members who held out
hope that some of the plane's passengers and
crew might still be alive in the chilly waters of
the Santa Barbara Channel.
"We have far exceeded our estimate of sur-
vivability," Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thomas
ollins said after announcing the decision at a
On shore, investigators interviewed airline
employees about reports that a different crew
of pilots complained of problems with the air-
craft's horizontal stabilizer as they headed
toward Pi'erta Vallarta, Mexico, on Monday.
The jetliner crashed hours later on the
return trip to San Francisco and Seattle.
The Seattle Times reported yesterday that
the crew had reported problems with the sta-
bilizer on the southbound leg of the flight.
"We don't know if it's true, we are investi-
gating that;' John Hammerschmidt, a member
of the National Transportation Safety Board,
said of the report.
The pilots who reported the problem will be
interviewed, an anonymous source familiar
with the investigation told the Times.
Possible problems with the stabilizer forced
an American Airlines MD-80 to land in
Phoenix 20 minutes after takeoff yesterday.
The plane, which had been headed toward Dal-
las, is part of the same series of aircraft as the
Alaska MD-83 that crashed.
Investigators, meanwhile, interviewed
pilots who were flying in the area of the crash
and may have seen Flight 261 go down.
The audio tapes of the pilots and the Seattle
maintenance crew apparently capture an
exchange that took place as the pilots tried to
troubleshoot what was going wrong, Jim Hall,
chair of the National Transportation Safety
Board, said on morning talk shows.
"Obviously these pilots were struggling to
maintain control of this aircraft for a signifi-
cant period of time. It's going to be very
important to this investigation to understand
why they were unsuccessful in this effort,"
The tape was handed over Tuesday to feder-
al investigators by Alaska Airlines in Washing-
ton, D.C., Hall said.
The search for survivors had gone on for 41
hours and included dozens of Coast Guard,
Navy and civilian ships, boats and aircraft that
combed a 1,100-square-mile area.
About 80 family members had arrived at an
assistance center in the Renaissance Hotel in
Los Angeles by Tuesday night and another 50
were expected to show up yesterday, said Chris
Thomas, an American Red Cross volunteer.
"Last night during a briefing led by the
NTSB, family members, I think, began to
come to grips with the idea that family mem-
bers had most likely perished in the crash,'
Thomas said. "It was obviously very tragic
and very difficult and very disturbing."
Many of those who had arrived at the hotel
remained in a state of shock, he said.
"I just want to know that our family mem-
bers didn't suffer and that it was just fast," said
Janis Ost Ford, whose brother Bob Ost was on
board the plane. Alaska Airlines and Red Cross
officials planned to take family members to the
coast near the crash site today. A memorial ser-
vice may be arranged later in the week.
"They will be able to deal with the emo-
tional responses; they'll be able to see the
search-and-rescue recovery process,"
Y AP PHOTO
Kirk Hibbert of Goodridge, Minn., flies over a bump while practicing for the snowmobile
snowcross event at the ESPN Winter X-Games yesterday at the Mt. Snow ski resort in West
U.S. Senate approves
minimum wage bill
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Teeing up
for an election-year fight, the Senate
approved a Republican bill yesterday
that would boost.the minimum wage
by $I an hour over three years, a peri-
od of time President Clinton and
Democrats say is too long to wait.
With many Republicans - espe-
cially in the House - eager to avoid
repeated campaign-season attacks on
the widely popular issue, some
increase in the current S5.15 hourly
minimum seems likely to become law
before Election Day.
But with the White House and
Democrats also objecting to the mea-
sure's $18 billion in tax cuts over five
years - mostly for small business
owners - it is unclear what the final
version will look like. The GOP's
desire to avoid making the proposal a
campaign issue gives Democrats little
incentive to quickly settle for anything
less than what they want: A two-year
phase-in, with a much smaller tax
Continued from Page 1A
for 25 years.
"He established the first and foremost
distinguished department of human
genetics in the country," Omenn said.
In 1966 Neel was named the Lee R.
Dice Professor of Human Genetics an
endowed professorship and held the
position until his retirement on June 30,
1985. "Jim's students were often
awestruck and fearful because of his
reputation, not his personality, and he
was most sensitive with his students,
always encouraging them to voice
their thoughts," Schull said.
"He also had an important effect on
the department and his colleagues as
well," Schull added.
Neel's youngest son, Alexander
Neel, said his father was "a true stu-
dent of science."
"He was a very gifted, dedicated
researcher who always maintained a
hush posture," Alexander Neel said.
Omenn describes Neel as some-
one who "could not have been more
encouraging, influential, and helpful
to me, from the first time I visited
this campus in 1968 when he first
gave me advice about my field of
He also created one of the first clin-
ics in the nation to diagnose and
advise patients with hereditary dis-
eases. Neel traveled around the world
studying and researching. He conduct-
ed a study on the after-effects of
Nagasaki and Hiroshima survivors and
their children in the late '40s.
Neel also studied the genetic char-
acteristics of isolated tribes in the
Amazon rain forest, the timing of
human migration in North America
"That's not the kind of legislation
the president can sign," said White
House spokesman Joe Lockhart, citing
its three-year phase-in and "a bevy of
unpaid-for tax cuts for the special
The minimum wage boost was
included in a bill that would over-
haul the nation's bankruptcy laws
that the Senate approved by 83-14.
The House approved its own version
of the bankruptcy legislation last
May, but it lacked any minimum
Last November, the House Ways
and Means Committee approved a
separate GOP bill that would"
increase the minimum wage by $1
over three years and includes a $30
billion, five-year package of tax
cuts. Some S16 billion of that price
tag is a reduction in the estate tax
paid by upper-income people who
inherit substantial assets.
and the genetic consequences of con-
Neel was the first scientist to come
up with the genetic basis for sickle cell
anemia. He also came up with the
"thrifty gene" hypothesis, which states
that genes associated with common
modern diseases are part of the' human
gene pool because they aided in
human survival. For example, dia-
betes, hypertension and obesity helped
individuals live when there was not an
ample supply of salt and calories.
Most recently, Neel's research was
spent focusing on severe chromosomal
damage in his self named "rogue cells,"
which he first located in the Yanomama
tribe in Japan and the Amazon.
"At the time of death he was work-
ing diligently on publications with col-
leagues throughout the medical school
using the most modern molecular
technologies to study genetic factors
effecting cancer," Omenn said.
Neel was educated at the College
of Wooster in Ohio for his under-
graduate degree where he came into
contact with many important geneti-
cists, said Schull.
He then continued on to the Univer-
sity of Rochester where he received
his Ph. D, and then "he decided in
order to be prepared for human genet-
ics he needed to be medically trained,"
Schull said, and went on to receive his
medical degree from the University of
Rochester in 1943.
Neel was awarded many honors dur-
ing his lifetime including being elected
to the National Academy of Sciences,
the Michigan Scientist of the Year
Award by the Michigan Legislature,
the Allen Award from the American
Society of Human Genetics, and the
National Medal of Science.
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Continued from Page 1A
Now the village, once very rural, is
advertised as an affluent suburb for the
well-off workers of Tel Aviv.
Salih Mahameed, an Engineering
graduate student, spoke of the
problem of Palestinian refugees and
how imperative it is for them to
return the houses to their original own-
ers," said Rackham student Natalie
Rothman. "If it were up to me I'd evac-
uate them tomorrow."
"I think what we should fight for is
to change immigration laws and make
Palestine a true democracy," Rothman
"It's a very pessimistic and depress-
ing situation," LSA senior Khaled Ali
Rn~n ci "htr-.i.nvo nii
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