Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Maui man
discovers son
still alive

Curtis Larson believes scammers
told him his son Jude died in
last Tuesday's attacks

By Gary T. Kubota

LAHAINA >> A Maui man said he is the victim of a hoax that had him believing his son and daughter-in-law were among the dead passengers on a hijacked airline that flew into the World Trade Center in New York.

Lahaina sculptor Curtis Larson said he spoke last night with his son Jude, who has been working temporarily in British Columbia to earn enough tuition money to return to study at the University of California at Los Angeles.

On Thursday, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin incorrectly reported that Jude Larson, 31, and his wife Natalie, 24, were aboard American Airlines Flight 11 which was the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

Jude sent an e-mail to the Star-Bulletin on Sunday notifying the newspaper of the mistake.

The newspaper called Curtis Larson late Sunday night, informed him about the e-mail, and provided him with the telephone number to reach his son.

Larson said after the terrorist attacks in New York, he received a telephone call last Tuesday morning from a woman who said she was his ex-wife informing him that their son and daughter-in-law had died in a passenger airline that hit the World Trade Center.

He said three minutes after he hung up, he received a call from a person claiming to be with the airlines, also informing him of the tragedy.

Larson said during the conversation, he was asked to disclose his Social Security number, date of birth and passport number to the caller.

He said he thought at the time that his wife's voice sounded strange but let it go because he hadn't spoken to her in years.

"They knew his name, his mother's name," he said. "I've been hoaxed. I'm just overjoyed he's alive, and whatever somebody got from me, they're welcome to it."

The story about Larson appeared on Maui after friends of his called a Maui newspaper.

Tweet Coleman, the Pacific area representative for the Federal Aviation Administration, said as of yesterday, neither United nor American Airlines has released the list of passengers on the hijacked flights to the news media.

The news media often rely upon family members to confirm airline deaths.

Larson's son was unavailable for comment.

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