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Sole El Al passenger planned to marry

Published Oct. 12, 2005

The only passenger on the El Al cargo plane that plowed into an apartment building was going home to Israel to prepare for her wedding.

Anat Solomon left Amsterdam on Sunday wanting to spend her 24th birthday, the next day, with her family in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, said El Al spokeswoman Els Bremer.

Solomon's fiancee, Itzik Levi, was going to follow her to Israel later. His job as an El Al security officer in Amsterdam allowed her to join three other crew on the El Al cargo flight.

"They planned to get married in January. A big wedding," said Solomon's mother, Rina Solomon, in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

A month ago, Solomon's father had a nightmare and begged her not to fly to Israel, Mrs. Solomon told the Amsterdam daily De Telegraaf.

"He dreamt he was lying on his daughter's grave."

Mrs. Solomon worried when Levi didn't call Sunday as soon as Solomon got on the plane, as was agreed. Later, the mother saw television reports of the fiery crash, which may have caused 250 deaths among apartment building residents.

"I immediately understood that this was our tragedy," she said.

Tuesday, search teams climbed into the rubble of the smoldering apartment building Tuesday to dig for more victims of the fiery crash of the crippled Israeli jumbo jet.

The effort by more than 500 police officers and firefighters was the first large-scale search since the crash Sunday evening.

Officials said more than 250 people were unaccounted for among the building's low-income residents and feared many died in the disaster. That could make it the worst air crash in terms of victims on the ground.

Authorities have abandoned hope of finding anyone alive.

Teams continued to search for the El Al jet's flight data and voice recorders to help investigators determine why two of the plane's four engines tore away shortly after it took off.

Boeing spokesman Jack Gamble repeated his company's statement of Monday that no evidence linked engine-mounting pins to the El Al crash or a similar one of a China Air 747 cargo plane in December. But he said Boeing asked the Federal Aviation Administration to require U.S. airlines to inspect the pins on most 747s.

FAA officials said Tuesday that the agency would order the engine mounts on the jets to be inspected.

Dozens of residents forced from their apartments were allowed in Tuesday to carry away whatever belongings they could fit into suitcases and trash bags.

Mayor Ed van Thijn said he hoped the recovery work could be finished in three days. Authorities had pulled 20 bodies from the debris by early today.

Authorities said many victims probably would never be positively identified because of the intensity of the fire caused by the crash and because many of the victims were thought to be illegal aliens.