DAVAO CRASH: U.S. PROBERS AWAIT BLACK BOX
Washington, April 20, 2000 The National Transportation Safety Board awaits the black boxes from the Boeing 737 that crashed on Samal Island in Davao. U.S. transportation investigators said they are ready to help in the probe of the Air Philippines crash that killed all 131 people aboard Wednesday.
Terry Williams, a spokesman for the NTSB, said the agency had received no request to send a team to the crash site.
``It appears the black boxes are to come here,'' said Terry Williams, a spokesman for the board.
The agency had received no formal request for other assistance in the investigation, he said, adding: ``We're in a wait-and-see mode at this time.''
The Federal Aviation Administration has also expressed willingness to help should the NTSB receive a request. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration last week recommended design changes in the rudders of 737 aircraft after putting the rudder through a battery of tests. No immediate risks to flight safety were uncovered in the FAA report, however.
The rudder system, which controls left-right movement of the plane, came under close suspicion after the crash of USAir Flight 427 near Pittsburgh in 1994 that killed all 132 people aboard. A similar disaster had occurred in 1991, when United Flight 585 crashed in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing 25.
The Boeing 737-200 that crashed in Davao was delivered by Boeing on Feb. 2, 1978, and had made 79,522 flights and accumulated 68,475 flight hours - about average for a plane that age, Boeing said.
The plane was the 508th 737-200 to roll off Boeing's assembly lines.
Seattle-based Boeing delivered its first 737-200 in 1968 and closed down production of the model in 1988. Of the 1,114 delivered, 945 remain in service, Boeing said.
In all, Boeing has marketed eight variations of 737s, with four still in production. The plane is the best-selling commercial jet.
Air Philippines, which operated the downed airplane, had 12 such 737-200s in its fleet. The airline also uses twin-engine turbo-propeller Planes.
Forty-seven Boeing 737s have crashed out of about 3,600 produced. More than 3,200 remain in service. According to Boeing, the accident rate of the 737 series is half that of the industry average.
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