JFK Jr. Plane Wreckage Sent to Air Force Base

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Two flatbed trucks under police escort transported wreckage from the John F. Kennedy Jr. plane crash to a Coast Guard hangar here, where it will be examined in detail by federal investigators.

Kennedy’s single-engine Piper Saratoga, described as “twisted metal,” arrived late Friday night, a Coast Guard official said.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation, hopes to learn what happened July 16 to cause the plane to dive into the sea off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.


However, authorities have acknowledged they may never find the reason for the crash that killed Kennedy, his wife and sister-in-law.

Aviation experts who have studied radar data believe that Kennedy suddenly lost altitude in an apparent “graveyard spiral,” an indication that pilot error was the most likely cause of the crash.

Ordinarily, only one regional investigator would be assigned to examine the cause of a small-plane crash, NTSB spokesman Paul Schlamm told the Boston Herald.

In the Kennedy crash, a team of eight or nine people will investigate, Schlamm said, including specialists such as metallurgists, meteorologists and structures experts.

The safety board will examine all the available parts to figure out how the plane broke up--and the cause of the breakup.

Officials also are examining radar data from five states to create a more accurate picture of the plane’s path before it crashed about seven miles from Martha’s Vineyard.


No more of the plane’s debris is expected to be recovered, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Victor Beck said, adding that about 90% of the wreckage has been removed from the ocean floor.