Home Safety Human remains recovered from Atlas Air 767 crash scene

Human remains recovered from Atlas Air 767 crash scene

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Searchers on Tuesday February 26 recovered human remains from the scene of the Atlas Air flight 3591 crash, but flight-data recorders still had not been found three days after the Boeing 767-300 dived steeply into a marsh in Trinity Bay, Texas, according to witness reports.

Briefing reporters at the scene near the city of Anahuac, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said a cadaver dog had located human remains, but he could not confirm the remains were from a third body.

Atlas Air has said there were three people on board the freighter, and Chambers told reporters Feb. 24 that two bodies had been recovered.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the crash investigation, but has not conducted scheduled briefings since February. 24.

Appearing with Hawthorne, FBI assistant special agent-in-charge Ed Michel said his agency is assisting NTSB under an MOU. It is helping to collect both traditional and hazardous evidence “with the goal of having that evidence, if needed, to be presented in any court within the United States, as well as the world, as recognized experts.”

Michel described the crash site as “a very unique and challenging environment,” with a muddy bottom and water depths of a few inches to several feet. “Quicksand is a very good description of how it is,” he said, responding to a reporter’s question. “When you step off (a boat), you can go easily one-to-two feet inside the mud very quickly.”

There is concern that the mud may be interfering with the underwater locater beacons on the aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight-data recorders. Searchers on propeller-driven airboats have been using acoustic receiver devices to locate “pinger” signals from the recorders, which have not yet been found.

Hawthorne said the site has been roiled by tides but remained largely intact. “There are scattered pieces [of wreckage] that may be a little farther out than what we originally [thought],” he said. “We’re also not sure whether it’s from the tide. We’ve had two pretty hefty tides where the wind has blown the water back in and it has moved some of the debris.”

He added: “The NTSB has pretty well found the four corners, as they call it, of the debris pattern and it has not changed much.”

On Feb. 25, US Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan Patrick announced that anyone who knowingly removes or conceals a part of a civil aircraft involved in an accident could face civil penalties and criminal charges.

Atlas Air operated the cargo flight for Amazon Air. The 767 converted freighter departed Miami International Airport at 11:30 a.m. local time Feb. 23 and crashed into the water body, part of Galveston Bay, at 12:40 p.m. while approaching Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Source: ATW

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