NTSB investigation continues - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

NTSB investigation continues

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NTSB investigators hold the black boxes found at the UPS Flight 1354 crash site, Thursday, August 15, 2013. (NTSB Photo) NTSB investigators hold the black boxes found at the UPS Flight 1354 crash site, Thursday, August 15, 2013. (NTSB Photo)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

This morning, the NTSB's "go team" of investigators began the job of collecting what is described as perishable information concerning the flight.

Investigators recovered the flight recorders from the wreckage just before noon. Locating those black boxes was critical.  They were recovered from the tail section of the plane. Now, the investigation turns to piecing together the evidence  to determine what happened  in the moments before crash, and why.

"We want to get the wreckage documented as soon as we can. We want to document the evidence. We want to document the perishable information. That's what we want to do now," says Robert Sumwalt, board member of the NTSB. 

Sumwalt knows time is of the essence.

"Evidence that we are looking for that can go away with the passage of time, would be witness statements. The more the 'elements' contend with us, the harder it is to get out there and get a good documentation of the wreckage," Sumwalt explains.

Investigators met their primary goal. They retrieved both flight recorders from the wreckage.

Now, the investigation will shift to a second area of impact. The trees that were clipped as the plane went down.

"how far north on the approach path did this plane start clipping trees? We have not documented that," says Sumwalt.

Although the recovery of the black boxes is critical. There still is more information important to the investigation.

"We'll be getting the transcripts from the FAA. The FAA has told us on a preliminary basis that there were no distress calls on the aircraft," Sumwalt says.

Ultimately, the NTSB's mission is clear.

"We want to know what happened on this flight, not only what happened, but why it happened. Our goal at the end of the day is to find out what happened so it won't happen again," says Sumwalt.

The black boxes will be taken back to the NTSB headquarters in Washington D.C. as this investigation continues.

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