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July 18, 1999 – Eyes and ears were on Martha’s Vineyard, this second day in the unfolding story of JFK jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren and their missing plane. Despite fervent hopes and a desperate search, all signs were pointing to worst-case scenario; JFK jr. his wife and her cousin on the plane were lost. Pieces of wreckage were spotted and floating ashore. But it brought no conclusive proof that the crash had no survivors. Officials were holding out hope that, with the waters in the area staying at around 68 degrees, it was possible all could have survived and were floating at sea, somewhere off the coast near Martha’s Vineyard. It was still a rescue mission and the Coast Guard was joined by U.S. Navy warships in the search. And while that was going on, an army of searchers on foot were combing the beaches in the area, looking for any signs of survivors, any pieces of wreckage. The land and sea search was joined by Coast Guard helicopters in the air.
In the meantime, wishes, prayers and hopes were pouring in – newspapers were devoting headlines to the story. It was the lead-in to most TV and Radio newscasts. The scene at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port was all too familiar, as family members gathered and waited for news. It was also noted with a tinge of irony that, July 18th was also the 30th anniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident involving Senator Ted Kennedy.
But there was other news – The U.S. was reportedly ready to help Israel get their troops out of the West Bank. Sources in Israel said the U.S. was prepared to spend $1.2 billion to aid in troop withdrawal.
And that’s some of what was going on, July 18, 1999 as reported by CBS Radio News on The Hour.