Divers Find Hole, More Human Remains, ValuJet DC-9 Wreckage
Divers recovering wreckage from ValuJet Flight 592 discovered a large hole Monday at the southern tip of the murky crater, raising the possibility that much more of the jet’s wreckage may lie below.
Divers pulled sections of aircraft as big as 6 feet long from the hole, along with the largest pieces yet of human remains and such things as wallets and photo albums, said Joe Farrell, president of Resolve Towing and Salvage.
“Our divers can actually put their arms down through the edges of that opening,” Farrell said. “We may very well find something of great interest within the southern tip of the crater.”
Half the airplane is still missing, including the cockpit section, Farrell said. “All the stuff we haven’t found, I think we’re just about to find it.”
The hole, 20-by-30 feet in diameter and filled with mud, is in the crater ripped open by the jet’s nose dive into the Everglades. The crater measures about 175 feet long and 60 feet wide.
The DC-9 was traveling south May 11 when it crashed and disappeared, he said. All 110 people aboard died.
Earlier in the day, a trucker who worked for Farrell’s company was charged with stealing parts of the aircraft, including a circuit breaker panel that could yield clues.
Michael E. Gadsden, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he took the parts as souvenirs, according to the FBI. He was jailed on $50,000 bail.
Gadsden’s job was to carry pieces from the crash site to a hangar where investigators are trying to reconstruct the DC-9.
FBI agents said they found two aircraft pieces at his home in Fort Lauderdale.
One piece was part of a circuit breaker panel, which apparently came from the cockpit, investigators said. The other was a 12-by-8-inch piece of the fuselage.
Investigators had been eager to inspect the circuit breaker panel to see if it played a role in the fire that burned aboard the plane before it crashed.
ValuJet said after the crash that the airplane’s circuit breaker boxes had been replaced before it took off that day.