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Crews try again to verify A-10 debris

Aerial photo shows metal pieces in snow

April 23, 1997
Web posted at: 4:09 p.m. EDT (2009 GMT)

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EAGLE, Colorado (CNN) -- Crews would need only about three hours on a remote cliff to determine whether debris they've spotted there belongs to a missing A-10 attack plane. But bad weather Wednesday may again keep them away from the steep mountainside.

"If only that blue sky floats over, we'll have a window of opportunity," said Maj. Gen. Nels Running, commander of the search effort.

The Air Force released an aerial photograph of the search area Tuesday. The photo showed pieces of metal jutting out of deep snow. Air Force pilots say the metal looks like an A-10.

A heavy-lifting MH-53 helicopter hovered Tuesday over the suspected crash site near New York Mountain, trying to determine how a recovery team could reach the wreckage.

The weather improved somewhat Tuesday, with overcast conditions but no precipitation. Officials were still concerned about unpredictable winds at high elevations. That could make it difficult to get a helicopter close enough to the jagged peaks to let searchers reach the site.

The snow poses an avalanche risk and also could conceal hazardous footing, probably making it too risky for the recovery team, said Maj. Running, the search commander.

 
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