Pieces of crucial electrical panel found in Everglades, paper says
June 5, 1996
Web posted at: 10:05 a.m. EDT
MIAMI (CNN) -- Investigators have found parts of a critical cockpit panel that may reveal whether an electrical fire caused ValuJet Flight 592 to crash, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
The Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel said the pieces were from the same panel that a mechanic removed twice to repair a circuit breaker while the plane was in Atlanta on May 11 -- the same day the plane crashed in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people aboard.
Although the pieces do not show traces of heat damage, Greg Feith, the National Transportation Safety Board investigator in charge, says that doesn't mean the remainder of it won't show evidence of fire.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the cockpit panel debris was found just south of the main crash crater. Investigators will continue searching for the rest of the panel and key electrical components Wednesday, Feith said.
The cockpit panel is usually located in an electrical power center behind the pilot in a DC-9, and it protects some of the plane's most vital electrical systems.
NTSB investigators already have found considerable evidence -- including burned parts, the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder -- that a fire in the forward section of the plane may have caused the crash.
The fire probably started from one of two sources: electrical components or more than 140 volatile oxygen generators in the forward cargo hold. Investigators have found about 18 of the canisters, many of them heavily burned.
The cockpit panel pieces that the focus of the Sun Sentinel report are not the cockpit pieces stolen from the site and found in the home of truck driver Michael Gadsden of Fort Lauderdale.
- Larger chunks of wreckage retrieved from new ValuJet hole
- Legal ordeal begins for families of ValuJet crash victims
- Digging begins at site of ValuJet crash in Florida
- New details from ValuJet voice recorder
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