HONOLULU — A submarine has retrieved the top half of the cargo door that ripped away from a United Airlines jet last year, sweeping nine people to their deaths, a Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The discovery ends a needle-in-a-haystack search of the Pacific Ocean floor. The three-man mini-sub and its support ship recovered the bottom half of the door last week.
The submarine located and recovered the top half Monday from 14,100 feet of water 90 miles south of Honolulu, lifting the wreckage to the surface with its hydraulic jaws, Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Sandy Stairs said. Stairs did not know how far the door's top half was found from the bottom half.
Officials said the door will be turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board, which wants to know why it tore away from United Flight 811 shortly after takeoff from Honolulu International Airport on Feb. 24, 1989.