Investigators locate key parts of Continental Airlines Flight 3407

February 17th, 2009 - 6:33 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 17 (ANI): Investigators have located key components that might help reveal what the pilot did to try to save Continental Airlines Flight 3407 during its final desperate seconds.

After a seemingly routine flight, the airplane endured a 26-second plunge before smashing into a house in icy weather about six miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Thursday night, killing 49 people on the plane and one on the ground.

The recovery team says they”ve removed 50 percent of the aircraft from the scene, CBS News reported.

National Transportation Safety Board member Steve Chealander said investigators have located the steering column, or yoke; all the propeller blades; five of six deicing valves; and rubber bladders designed to protect the tail from ice.

Though ice has emerged as a possible factor, the cause has remained elusive in part because there was no distress call from the pilot, no mechanical failure has been identified and the plane was so severely damaged.

Chealander said on Sunday that the pilot appeared to ignore recommendations by the NTSB and his employer that the autopilot be turned off in icy conditions. The autopilot remained on until an automatic system warned that a stall could occur, pushed the yoke forward and shut the autopilot off.

Chealander acknowledged that it was possible that the pilot overreacted by yanking the yoke back, further destabilizing the plane, but he said that was one of an almost unlimited number of possibilities.

Kirk Koenig, president of Expert Aviation Consulting of Indianapolis and a commercial aviation pilot for 25 years, said the airplane may have been in a predicament that would challenge even the most experienced pilots.

The captain, Marvin Renslow, 47, of Tampa, Fla., was believed to be handling the duties of the pilot during the final moments aboard the Dash 8 Q400 plane, operated by Colgan Air. (ANI)

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