Authorities have recovered one body from the Boeing 767 which nose-dived into the shallow Texas waters with three people aboard.
The cargo plane was taking the route of Miami and Houston when it crashed last Saturday about 40 miles southeast of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. According to Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said that only one body had been recovered so far.
The contents of the packages and cardboard boxes are seen scattered across the water, along with arts of the twin-engine plane, the Sheriff describes.
“There was nothing intact of the airplane,” he said. “Knowing what I saw, I don’t think anyone could survive it.”
Chambers County Sheriff Hawthorne said that the crash site in Trinity Bay near Anahuac is in water 5 feet deep and is reachable by airboats and other flat-bottom craft. Debris can be found in over 3 miles from the crash site, and the scene was therefore extended, he added.
Texas Department of Public Safety, Houston Police and the Baytown Police dive teams are already at the dive site in an attempt to recover the two other passengers aboard the Boeing 767.
According to Atlas Air Inc., the operator of the flight, it is flying on behalf of Amazon.
According to the sheriff, there were about five or six people who witnessed the crash. People who have seen the plane go down described it as if it sounded like the engines were surging.
“There’s no doubt he was having some kind of problem with the airplane, according to the eyewitnesses,” the sheriff said. “Then it turned and went into a nosedive.”
The 767 was in a normal descent as it approached the airport, then went into a “very, very rapid descent” at 6,300 feet, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters.
Atlas Air expressed its grief and said that it would prioritize the three people on the plane as well as their family members. They said that they are now in cooperation with federal investigators to expedite the resolution of the investigation.
The three passengers of the cargo plane are said to be union members of Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, according to their president.
“Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families,” said Daniel C. Wells, who is also an Atlas Air captain. “Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families.”
The sheriff’s office released a statement regarding the plane crash to update everyone about the situation and the response operation that is taking place.
“The joint operation between the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the FBI will continue to attempt recovery of victims and the aircraft,” the office said.
Boeing said it was saddened to hear about the crash.
“We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board the airplane,” it said. “We are prepared to provide technical assistance to the National Transportation Safety Board as it investigates the accident.” /apr