Search crews have recovered both flight recorders and all major components of the Transair Boeing 737-200 cargo jet that ditched into the Pacific Ocean on July 2, shortly after takeoff from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, the NTSB said Tuesday. Operating as Flight 810, the pilots ditched the aircraft after reporting anomalies in both engines. Both pilots survived. The wreckage came to rest on an ocean shelf at a depth ranging from 350 to 450 feet.
“The recovery of the recorders and virtually the entire airplane represents a major step forward in the investigation,” said NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy. “We are so appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the federal and state agencies, parties, and contractors that contributed to this successful outcome.”
An underwater survey of the accident site conducted in July revealed that the fuselage broke into two pieces: the aft section with the wings and tail attached, and the forward section that includes the flight deck. Both engines separated from the wings at impact. The forward landing gear assembly also separated from the fuselage.
Four of the six cargo containers remained in the aft section of the fuselage; crews found the other two containers near the wreckage and a pallet of cargo during the initial search operation.
In the months following the accident, Transair’s insurance provider contracted with several companies to recover the wreckage and cargo. The contractors included the Eclipse Group, which operates the Bold Horizon, a San Diego-based research vessel equipped with a remotely operated vehicle and other underwater retrieval equipment. A California-based barge, the Salta Verde, lifted the two sections of the fuselage and transported them to shore in Honolulu.
Meanwhile, contractors crated the engines in preparation for their return to the mainland, where each will undergo a teardown examination supervised by an NTSB investigator.
The investigation, which the board expects to complete in 12 to 24 months, will include a comprehensive examination of the airplane structure, engines, systems, maintenance, survival factors, vehicle performance, air traffic control, human factors, federal oversight, and emergency response, said the NTSB.