US cites new evidence on jet
The United States released new translations of recorded conversations of Soviet pilots who shot down a Korean passenger plane, saying the tapes prove the Korean pilot was unaware of any possible warning shots or signals to the jet.
The State Department said a thorough review of the original transcripts and efforts at electronic enhancement of garbled passages showed that a phrase by one Soviet pilot, first translated as ''I have enough time,'' has now been translated as ''They do not see me.'' The segment was recorded about seven minutes before the plane was shot down. A second segment, recorded about a minute and a half later and previously unintelligible, has now been translated as ''I am firing cannon bursts.''
The updated information came on Sunday, which President Reagan had proclaimed as a national day of mourning for the 269 people killed on the flight. In reprisals against Moscow, Mr. Reagan closed the US offices of Aeroflot, the official Soviet airline, and ordered the severing of all business between American carriers and Aeroflot. The move, which came late Thursday night, was designed to hurt Soviet prestige as well as deny the Soviets Western currency.
A report in the Washington Post, meanwhile, said that US airline pilots relying on the same type of navigational equipment used by Korean Air Lines flight 007 have found themselves off course at least 21 times in the past five years. The information was obtained from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which received the reports from the pilots themselves. NASA reported cases in which the computers of the inertial navigational system (INS) malfunctioned, in which crew members made mistakes in programming the computers, and in which pilots failed to monitor the INS.