OT AA261 NTSB media release

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The Safety Boards investigation of the January 31 crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261 is continuing. The field investigation phase was completed on March 16. The NTSB Command Post at Port Hueneme, California, was closed this week.

Wreckage Recovery

Wreckage recovery was completed on March 15. Here is a summary of that effort:

Following sonar and video mapping of the wreckage debris field (approximately the dimensions of a football field, about 700 feet below the surface of the ocean), U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving personnel and assets began the recovery of wreckage and human remains using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on February 2. This water is too deep for divers.

After these recovery operations were completed on March 8, the trawler Sea Clipper (home port San Francisco) began trawling for additional wreckage. Sea Clipper used sole nuts (nets?) with 5-inch grid for initial trawling for four days and then trawled the same areas with shrimp nets with a grid of 1 1/2 inches for the final four days of the recovery.

As a result of all of these operations, approximately 90 percent of the wreckage has been recovered. When the initial recovery plan was drawn up, we anticipated recovering about 65 percent. All of the major components of the tail section are among the recovered pieces. A portion of the top of the fairing that is located just above the horizontal stabilizer has not been located.

(more at website)

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 17, 2000

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