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  • 1 decade ago
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    THE investigation into the US Airways Airbus crash into New York's Hudson River has been hampered by the loss of both engines in the river, officials say.

    Investigators have questioned cabin crew and were to interview the pilot and co-pilot later today, Kitty Higgins, a member of the National Transport Safety Board, said.

    However, the main clues to why the plane crashed need to be found before investigators can know why the engines stopped shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, possibly because of a collision with birds.

    "Both engines are no longer attached to the plane," Ms Higgins said.

    Divers backed by sophisticated sonar "are out there now trying to locate the engines", she said. "I believe they started at the point where the plane came down and are moving down the river."

    "If there was any kind of damage as a result of birds, my understanding is this will show up," she said. "It's a very important piece of the puzzle."

    The damaged plane is safely secured to a dock at the side of the Hudson, but it is mostly submerged and filled with water.

    The black box flight data and voice recorders are in the tail of the plane and still inaccessible because of fierce currents and cold, Ms Higgins said.

    "We just can't get to them because of the problem of the currents, the water and the temperatures," she said.

    There had been plans to raise the plane and put it on a barge, but this has been put off.

    Ms Higgins blamed "the strong current which has really limited the amount of time the divers" can work to rig up the plane.

    Once the plane is raised it will be transported to a secure location on dry land, ready for in-depth investigation.

    "Then we can remove the recorders. They tried while the plane was still in the water but that was not possible," she said

    web site http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21498,2492...

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