Search for survivors called off

boats site

Deadly Florida crash site a logistical puzzle

May 12, 1996
Web posted at: 5:00 p.m. EDT

M IAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The active search for survivors of the crash of a ValuJet DC-9 in the Everglades was called off Sunday, local fire and rescue authorities said. Emergency workers focused instead on the recovery of bodies and wreckage.(288K QuickTime movie)

The search stopped when it became apparent that no survivors would be found, said Luis Fernandez of Metro-Dade Fire-Rescue. "We have not found any survivors," he said.

Searchers planned to use a rocky road atop an embankment about 300 yards from the crash site to gain access to the wreckage instead of building a new road, said Lt. Pat Brickman of the Metro-Dade Fire-Rescue.

It was unclear whether some paving would be required so that heavy equipment could be brought in.

crash site

ValuJet on Sunday released a complete list of the 109 people aboard the plane, including 104 passengers and five crew members.(Complete list of passengers and crew)

At a Sunday news conference, ValuJet president and founder Lewis Jordan, described the pilot, Capt.Candalyn Kubeck, as "very experienced, very well-trained, very competent."

Jordan also repeated his belief that the plane had no safety problems, saying the company would have voluntarily grounded it if any mechanical trouble had been found.

Swamp may be dammed

The National Transportation Safety Board was considering bringing in a portable dam so that hundreds of yards of swamp where the plane went down could be drained, Brickman said.


There were concerns about protecting rescue workers trying to extricate bodies and parts of the submerged plane from the water and muck, which together are up to 10 feet deep.

"The fear is as much for divers' safety as anything else out there," Brickman said. Officials planned to bring in a refrigerated truck as a temporary morgue.

Aviation fuel from the plane had dissipated, and no longer posed a threat to searchers, he added. Officials had no plans to use volunteers in the search until they learned more about conditions.

"It's very eerie to recognize that there's that large of an aircraft, a DC-9, down under the mud," said Chief R.D. Paulison of the Metro-Dade Fire Rescue team.

Flight 592, en route from Miami to Atlanta, crashed about 12 miles northwest of Miami International Airport. The cause of the crash was unknown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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