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Divers to search Everglades crash
site Saturday

Searcher

May 17, 1996
Web posted at: 9:05 p.m. EDT

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Divers wearing special bio-hazard suits could begin Saturday searching the dark and oily crater left when ValuJet Flight 592 slammed into the Florida Everglades a week earlier and where investigators believe much of the DC-9 wreckage remains.

"They are going to literally be feeling their way around," said National Transportation Safety Board lead investigator Greg Feith. "We don't know what they're going to find."

Based on what the divers find and what experimental radar reveals, the NTSB will "brainstorm" next week on a plan to lift the main wreckage from the watery oil, Feith said.

"We believe there are a lot of large pieces in this main impact crater," he said. "We'll have a better idea of how deep it is and possibly how much wreckage there is and possibly what it's going to take to extract the main part of the wreckage."

As early as Monday, an experimental radar could be used to help investigators locate the wreckage below the water and mud. (254K AIFF sound or 254K WAV sound)

"We don't know exactly how deep it will actually get down to the cap rock and the limestone, but we are hoping we can get down far enough where we can actually map what exists underwater," Feith said.

Debris

Less than 10 percent of the plane wreckage has been removed from the crash site, he said. The pieces have been gathered in a hangar at Miami International Airport, where reporters were allowed to view it Friday afternoon.

A preliminary study of one of the two engines recovered indicated that its fans were turning at high speed when the plane crashed, Feith said. A fan section critical to the analysis has been found, he said.

The engines could provide clues about why there was a gap in information stored on the flight data recorder that was recovered earlier in the week. Searchers still have not located the cockpit voice recorder, which could reveal what actions the crew took in the moments before the crash.

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