A Navy submarine prowling the ocean floor has located and recovered the bottom half of a cargo door that tore off a United Airlines jet last year, sending nine people to their deaths, Navy officials said Thursday.
The deep-sea sub crew found the door section Wednesday night while on their sixth dive to 14,000 feet below the ocean surface about 100 miles south-southwest of Oahu, Lt. Cmdr. Sandy Stairs said.The recovered section, which measures 6-by-10 feet, was raised to the surface with the hydraulic jaws of the submarine and brought onto the deck of the sub's support ship, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
United Flight 811, with 355 people aboard, was bound for New Zealand from Honolulu Feb. 24, 1989, when part of the fuselage ripped away at 22,000 feet, sweeping nine passengers out of the Boeing 747 and to their deaths.
The NTSB earlier this year blamed the accident on improper latching and flawed design of the cargo door locking mechanism as well as maintenance and inspection problems.
But the board, the Federal Aviation Administration, United and Boeing are anxious to examine the door to make a final determination of the cause of the accident.