The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that it has recovered both flight recorders and “all major components” of the TransAir cargo jet that crashed this past summer off Oahu’s south shore.

Hauling the heavy plane wreckage from depths of 350 to 450 feet about two miles off Ewa Beach is a “major step forward” in the agency’s investigation into the crash, according to NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy.

TransAir NTSB
Crews haul part of the TransAir fuselage out of the ocean and onto a barge off of Ewa Beach. NTSB

“We are so appreciative of the collaborative efforts of the federal and state agencies, parties and contractors that contributed to this successful outcome,” Homendy said in a statement.

The Boeing 737-200 freighter crashed July 2 shortly after taking off from the Daniel K. Inouye International airport. Its two pilots reported “anomalies” in the engines and then ditched the plane in the ocean. The pilots were the only two people aboard and both were injured in the crash.

A survey of the underwater accident sight revealed the fuselage had broken in half and that both engines separated from the plane on impact, according to the NTSB. Last month, crews hired by TransAir’s insurance provider lifted both sections to the surface — weighing 15,500 pounds and 48,500 pounds, respectively — and brought the wreckage to Barbers Point via barge, according to the agency.

The engines were recovered as well. The fuselage sections will remain in Hawaii while the engines will be shipped to back to the mainland, according to the NTSB. The agency will analyze the flight data recorder and the cockpit recorder at a laboratory in Washington, D.C., it said.

NTSB anticipates its investigation will take 12 to 24 months to complete.

Quality journalism takes time.

A story that takes fives minutes to read often takes days to report.
Quality journalism takes time and resources to produce, but with support from readers like you, Civil Beat can investigate issues and publish stories that are otherwise difficult to fund.
Become a donor and help support Civil Beat’s next investigation.

About the Author