Charred wreckage yields 'good data'
Safety officials enter airplane
DENVER - Investigators climbed inside the cracked, charred wreckage of a
National Transportation Safety Board investigators conducted preliminary reviews of the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder on Sunday, agency spokesman Peter Knudson said.
No information has been released, but Knudson said "we do have good data" from the recorders. The investigators said nothing has been ruled out as a potential cause.
Investigators planned to interview the captain and the first officer. Both had clean safety records with the Federal Aviation Administration, agency spokesman Ian Gregor said. He would not release their names.
FAA records show the plane, built in 1994, had to make an emergency landing in Denver in 1995 when one of its two engines failed, but the aircraft touched down safely. The engine was replaced.
The latest accident forced the 115 passengers and crew aboard Flight 1404 to flee through emergency exits as the plane burned. The jet had shed its left engine and both main landing gears. The entire right side of the jet was burned, and melted plastic from overhead compartments dripped onto the seats.
Of the 38 people injured, at least five remained in Denver hospitals yesterday, one in serious condition, one in fair condition, and three in good condition. Knudson said one member of the cockpit crew was injured, but it wasn't immediately clear whether it was the captain or first officer, and Knudson didn't know how seriously.
The weather was clear and cold when the plane attempted to take off for Houston about 6:20 p.m. Saturday. Winds at the airport were 31 miles per hour, the FAA said.
"No other aircraft opted against taking off due to wind" before Flight 1404 tried to lift off, Gregor said.
The plane veered off course about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway and did not appear to have become airborne, city aviation manager Kim Day said.
The NTSB took reporters and photographers to the scene yesterday afternoon. The charred right side of the plane was punctured by a jagged hole, and debris was strewn across the grassy slope.
Skid marks in the snow and scrapes in the ground showed that after veering off the runway, the plane crossed a flat grassy strip and a taxiway before sliding over an embankment.