The following is the text of a statement President George W. Bush made on Wednesday on mainland China’s announcement it will release the crew of a U.S. spy plane held since making an emergency landing on Hainan Island on April 1 after a midair collision with a Chinese fighter:
“I am pleased to be able to tell the American people that plans are under way to bring home our 24 service men and women from Hainan Island. “This morning the Chinese government assured our American ambassador that the crew would leave promptly. We are working on arrangements to pick them up and to bring them home.
“This has been a difficult situation for both our countries. I know that the American people join me in expressing sorrow for the loss of life of a Chinese pilot. Our prayers are with his wife and his child.
“I appreciate the hard work of our ambassador to China, Joseph Prueher and his entire embassy team who worked tirelessly to solve this situation. The American people, their families and I are proud of our crew and we look forward to welcoming them home.”