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Author Topic: Plane wreckage found - next steps?  (Read 9480 times)

Skip Daly

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Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« on: February 02, 2015, 09:12:04 AM »

Hi Ric & folks,

Apologies if this is already addressed somewhere, but I was just curious as to how the identification/confirmation process will work in the next expedition.  i.e. let's say that the ROV goes down and does discover man-made wreckage at the 600 foot anomaly site. Even if some of the wreckage is identifiable as "aircraft components," I am assuming that there will be further work needed to definitively nail it as being Earhart's Electra?  Will the ROV be equipped so as to *retrieve* anything (for further detailed analysis)?

Likewise with the 200 foot-deep debris field - let's assume that is actually fragments of the landing gear.  Are there plans to retrieve anything? (to look for a manufacturer's plate or anything that would yield *definitive* proof to end the mystery for good?)

I find Tighar's hypothesis to be incredibly compelling and the methods and openness here seem to follow the highest scientific standards. At the same time, it seems like there will have to be definitive proof presented before everyone (i.e. the general public) agrees the mystery is over. (I guess this is the "any idiot artifact" that has long been discussed?).

Do the expedition plans include *retrieving* said artifact (are the ROVs even equipped for this)?  Is there a hope of this next outing yielding final closure to the mystery?  If it yields ROV footage of an airplane wreck in 600 feet of water, is it anticipated that that might be "enough"?

Lots of open-ended questions, I know, and they are all intended with the utmost respect.  I guess it boils down to wondering what criteria will allow for a legitimate "mission accomplished" banner to be hoisted...? (and what expedition plans are being made accordingly)

Cheers,
-Skip
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 10:24:45 AM »

Will the ROV be equipped so as to *retrieve* anything (for further detailed analysis)?

Likewise with the 200 foot-deep debris field - let's assume that is actually fragments of the landing gear.  Are there plans to retrieve anything? (to look for a manufacturer's plate or anything that would yield *definitive* proof to end the mystery for good?)

The ROV, and of course the divers, will be able to recover small objects should we decide to do so.  Those decisions will have to be made on-site with the advice of our archaeologists.

I guess it boils down to wondering what criteria will allow for a legitimate "mission accomplished" banner to be hoisted...? (and what expedition plans are being made accordingly)

I can assure you that there will be no "mission accomplished" banner aboard the expedition vessel.  As in the past, we'll photograph and, if appropriate, recover whatever we find.  We'll analyze it and announce our findings.  Whether it accomplishes the mission is not for us to decide.
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John B. Shattuck

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 11:45:32 AM »

We are going to 200 feet with the divers?  The depth is very doable, I just worry about the remoteness of the dive site and the risk of decompression problems so far away from medical support.

Need any more tech divers along as support divers?

JB
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 11:49:50 AM »

We are going to 200 feet with the divers?

Not sure yet.  Probably not.  As you say, too risky.  The divers could come across debris at shallower depths.

Need any more tech divers along as support divers?

That would be great but we don't have room. We have four very good divers plus at least two from the ship's crew.
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Skip Daly

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 11:55:23 AM »

Thanks Ric.  And I had the same thought re: 200 feet being insanely dangerous for divers in such a remote location.

I hope you don't take my questions in the wrong light.  I'm not trying to be picky, stir trouble, etc.  I was just curious as to what the plan was for trying to "seal the deal" on this one.  It'd be a shame to come back with tantalizing VIDEO (and/or still) footage, but still not have the proverbial smoking gun....you know?

Was just wondering what thought had been given to the specifics of "items that could be found and reasonably RECOVERED that might bear identifying marks?"

BTW, that's not to suggest anything should or would happen outside of approved archaeological considerations (one of the procedural approaches TIGHAR should be commended on).

But TIGHAR has visited other Electra crash sites, yes?  Have any findings been compiled as to what (smaller) elements of an Electra wreck site might contain identifying features (manufacturer labels, serial numbers, etc)?  Seems like having a list of some smaller items that would make good targets for recovery could be a big benefit to the team....??

« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 12:05:52 PM by Skip Daly »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 12:36:56 PM »

But TIGHAR has visited other Electra crash sites, yes?  Have any findings been compiled as to what (smaller) elements of an Electra wreck site might contain identifying features (manufacturer labels, serial numbers, etc)?  Seems like having a list of some smaller items that would make good targets for recovery could be a big benefit to the team....??

Several of our dive team members have been to the crash sites and have in-person, hands-on knowledge of what a violently disassembled Electra looks like. That's why I put them on the dive team.
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Dale O. Beethe

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 01:24:15 PM »

I like the term "violently disassembled".  Very descriptive!
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Plane wreckage found - next steps?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 03:56:24 PM »

I like the term "violently disassembled".  Very descriptive!

An old buddy of mine in the accident investigation business used to refer to wrecked aircraft as being "in kit format."
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