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Crash investigation hampered by lack of data recorders

By Bonney Bowman 2:36 PM December 4, 2013

NTSB says recordings take the guesswork out of what happened

ANCHORAGE – Investigators of the deadly St. Mary’s plane crash find their efforts hindered by one key thing.

It’s something most planes this size fly without. The Cessna 208, which crashed Friday, was not equipped with a recording device.

Cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders are key evidence investigators use to piece together what happened when a plane goes down.

This time, that evidence is not available.

Cessna 208s are not required to have recording equipment, even though the National Transportation Safety Board recommends planes of this size install some kind of device.

Recordings are worth their weight in gold when it comes to finding out what went wrong, said Alaska NTSB Office Chief Clint Johnson. They take the guesswork out of what happened.

Johnson said investigators are now left with passenger interviews. They are, however, bringing the wreckage back to Anchorage where they’ll reconstruct the plane piece by piece.

An NTSB meteorologist is looking into what role, if any, weather may have played in the crash.

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