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China To Free Crew

WASHINGTON, Apr 11, 2001 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The White House confirmed Wednesday that China would release the 24 American crew members detained on Hainan Island since their Navy plane made an emergency landing there following a collision with a Chinese jet fighter April 1 over the South China Sea.

A White House statement said the United States had received verbal assurances from the Chinese that the crew would be released shortly. Final arrangements were being worked out, it said.

Earlier, a Chinese spokesman on Hainan said, "As the U.S. side has already said 'very sorry' to the Chinese people, the Chinese government, out of humanitarian considerations, decided to allow the 24 people on the U.S. spy plane to leave China after completing the necessary procedures."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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