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Officials Suspend ValuJet Crash Recovery Efforts in Everglades

June 11, 1996|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Authorities suspended their monthlong search in the Everglades on Monday, leaving a quarter of the ValuJet plane and most of the victims' remains in layers of mud and dead saw grass.

Investigators have recovered enough of the plane to determine what caused the May 11 crash, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall said.

But as much as 80% of the body parts of people on the plane remain not recovered, and the Dade County medical examiner's office has identified only 36 of the 110 people who were aboard the plane.

"As far as I'm concerned there is nothing further to recover," Metro-Dade Chief Medical Examiner Roger Mittleman said, adding that more identifications will be forthcoming.

Hall, who toured the site Monday, said they have recovered all of the aircraft parts that can be reasonably be expected to be salvaged, given the physical conditions.

Officials are considering placing a grave marker or some other type of memorial at the crash site. Victims' families are being consulted about the possibility of a mass burial site in the Everglades.

The area will remain off-limits, patrolled by Florida game commission officers and Metro-Dade police.

The plane is being reconstructed at the Tamiami Airport in Kendall, outside Miami. At the Washington offices of the NTSB, the different investigative teams will begin comparing their findings. A formal report on the cause of the crash is not expected before early next year.

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