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Statement by Jim Hall at the Final Press Briefing, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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 Statement by Jim Hall at the Final Press Briefing, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Today's announcements represent a major development in our accident investigation, and, of course, a major development for those most affected by the events of last Friday night. Admiral Larrabee will speak to those shortly.

I know there are many people who consider this a national tragedy. We all must remember, though, that this is an intense personal tragedy for the families. Our hearts go out to them.

The Coast Guard, the Navy's Supervisor of Salvage, NOAA, the Massachusetts State and Environmental Police, and Administrator Jane Garvey and the FAA have done excellent work in the search and recovery. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the men and women of the National Transportation Safety Board and, I believe, by all Americans.

Let me tell you where the National Transportation Safety Board goes from here. As we've been saying, the wreckage of the aircraft will be taken to a facility on the Coast Guard Air Station, Cape Cod, for examination by investigators. If any components require additional examination, they will be taken to appropriate facilities elsewhere.

This information, along with all other documentation, witness statements, and radar data, will be compiled into a factual report by our Investigator-in-Charge, Robert Pearce. This will provide the basis for the NTSB's determination of the probable cause of the accident, which the Safety Board is mandated to do by law. I hope we can complete this process in six to nine months.

The bulk of our efforts over the next few days will be the examination of aircraft wreckage. Many of the NTSB staff will be returning to Washington tomorrow, and I will be leaving tonight. For the news media, the contact will be the NTSB's Office of Public Affairs in Washington.

While this investigation will continue, I would be remiss by not recognizing the individuals of the National Transportation Safety Board who performed their duties under extraordinary circumstances. I would like to personally thank Mr. Robert Pearce, Director of our Northeast Regional Office, for the work of his team and for his effectiveness as a spokesperson for the NTSB investigation.

In addition, I would like to thank Mr. Peter Goelz, the Managing Director of our agency, for once again demonstrating his leadership ability, as well as the individuals who worked so capably for him.

I think the attention of all of us for the next few days might better be directed towards contemplation on the three young lives that were lost in this tragedy, and the NTSB will not have further comment until all the memorial services and remembrances are completed.

Let me now introduce an individual whom I have gotten to know very well and now consider a friend, Admiral Richard Larrabee.

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Contact: NTSB Media Relations
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594