"We do not yet know and cannot speculate about what happened to Flight 261," Alaska Airlines chief executive John Kelley said in a message posted on the front door of the company's Web site after the jet crashed off the coast of Southern California. "However, we intend to use this special section of our Web site to ensure a steady flow of accurate information so that everyone of you who has a need for information can have it as soon as possible."
The airline's Web page also provided a toll-free number for families wishing to inquire about the accident. Like other carriers, Alaska Airlines' home page normally provides information about reservations, schedules and discounted Web fares.
Companies increasingly are turning to the Web as a tool for crisis management.
In September 1998, Swissair changed the front door of its Web site just hours after a crash to provide official information and phone numbers in English, German and French.
In November 1996, Odwalla created a Web site to handle questions about the voluntary recall of some of its juices.