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NATION : Immediate DC-9 Checkup Urged

From Times Wire Services

Federal safety investigators today urged the Federal Aviation Administration to require the immediate inspection of all DC-9 jets to determine if any rear exit handles are broken or cracked. The recommendation stems from a Dec. 3 collision in Detroit that killed eight.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is “concerned that extensive wear of (the) handle shaft” could cause the handle on a tailcone evacuation exit to jam.

The investigation of the collision of two Northwest passenger jets at Detroit Metropolitan Airport indicates some of the eight fatalities on the DC-9 may have resulted when a rear emergency evacuation handle jammed, the board said.

In such a situation, the board said, excessive force could be applied that could break the handle shaft, rendering the emergency evacuation exit on the tailcone assembly of the DC-9 inoperable.

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