National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
(Washington, DC) -- Agreement has been reached with some of the parties on sharing the costs of recovery of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from a Turkish-owned B-757 charter jet that crashed into the sea February 6 after take-off from the Dominican Republic, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Jim Hall announced today.
"Several countries and corporate entities with an interest in this tragic accident are in agreement on sharing the costs estimated at $1.4 million," said Hall. "The Dominican Republic aviation authorities, who are responsible for the accident investigation, and the Safety Board have worked out an agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany, the Boeing Aircraft Co., and Rolls Royce, Inc. on sharing the recovery expenses with them," he added.
Hall said the Safety Board and the Dominican Republic look forward to finalizing the details of the commitments from Turkey and Birgenair, the registered operator. A response from them has been delayed because of the Bayram holiday.
The U.S. Navy has detected the locator beacons from the wreckage of the Birgenair jet, which was leased to the Dominican airline Alas Nacionales, (Flight ALW-301). The recovery vessel, Marion C II, under charter to the U.S. Navy, left Salem, NJ, last week and is expected to arrive on scene within the next few days to begin the recovery process.
The recovery of the "black boxes" may be critical to the determination of probable cause of the accident. Because the batteries that power the locator beacons have a limited life, timeliness in the recovery effort is critical.
"The cost sharing accord was reached after a series of meetings and teleconferences involving the U.S. State Department, interested parties and the offices of Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. Larry Pressler and Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Hatfield, as well as House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Frank Wolf," said Hall. Important assistance in obtaining funding from the German government was given by Sen. Pressler's office, said Hall.
The Safety Board has contracted with the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving for the recovery effort. The Navy will attempt to recover the "black boxes" using "CURV III" (Cable-controlled Underwater Recovery Vehicle), a Navy system that is operated and maintained by Oceaneering Technologies in Maryland.
The Navy's CURV III is a sophisticated underwater remotely operated vehicle capable of operating in water depths as great as 20,000 feet. It has titanium robotic arms, closed circuit TV, SONAR, lights, still camera capabilities, and can lift 2,500 pound objects from the ocean floor.
The recovery plan has two parts. The first will be to retrieve the two flight recorders aboard the aircraft which are vital for accident investigation purposes. The second will be to retrieve portions of wreckage that may further assist in establishing the probable cause of the accident.
Once retrieved, the boxes will be brought to the NTSB's laboratories for evaluation and read-out.
In Washington: NTSB Office of Public Affairs - (202) 314-6100
In Dominican Republic: Cesar Beltran - (809) 541-1626
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.