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NTSB Releases Factual Report on Crash that Killed Payne Stewart and Five OthersAired September 27, 2000 - 1:03 p.m. ET
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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. government released new information today about the plane crash 11 months ago that killed pro golfer Payne Stewart. Stewart and five others died when his Lear jet went off course and crashed in South Dakota. Investigators have long believed the aircraft lost cabin pressure, causing everyone to blackout.
CNN's Carl Rochelle has been reviewing documents released just this morning. He joins us from Washington.
Carl, what have you learned?
CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, there is nothing in the public docket that was opened today by the National Transportation Safety Board that would lead you away from that conclusion that those who were in that plane, Payne Stewart and five others, died, perished because the plane lost cabin pressure. But there is still a lot of questions unanswered out there.
One we did get an answer to. There was a question about whether a shut-off value for the oxygen, the supplemental oxygen system, could have been left on or off because the valve is outside of the cabin, would have to be turned on or off from the ground, apparently was turned on. The testing that they had performed on the pieces that they recovered compared to working valves indicate that air was capable of going through there.
But there is no question -- there is no answer as to whether there was actually any oxygen in the oxygen tanks, whether the masks deployed. A number of questions still remaining out there. And those questions will bed dealt with in the probable cause, which will come anywhere from three to six months down the road -- Natalie.
ALLEN: So the NTSB will eventually say why they believe this plane crashed?
ROCHELLE: The NTSB will ultimately give their best guess. Now what they are ding right now is going into the labs, and going back and continuing to test and work through the data that they have, looking for a clue that will zero them in on the accident.
Of course, you know, one of the primary reasons for coming up with causes of a crash is so that you don't have another crash for the same cause somewhere down the road so they can fix whatever went wrong in this case. Continuing to study the values, the outflow valve that let cabin air go out of it, looking for answers. But, ultimately, they will come up with some kind of probable cause to this accident, as I said, probably three to six months down the road -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Carl Rochelle, in Washington, thanks.
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