Cracks Found In Crashed Mallard's Spar

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Investigators have found a major fatigue crack in the spar of the wing that separated from a Chalk's Ocean Airways turboprop Mallard on takeoff from Miami on Monday. The wing was recovered Tuesday and fatigue was quickly apparent. "We've seen fatigue. We don't know why that fatigue appeared. That is what we're trying to determine," Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters Wednesday morning. "This crack appears to extend through a majority of the spar at the location of the separation." A total of 19 passengers, most of them from the Bahamas, and the pilot died. Rosenker suggested the crack may have been hard to spot on a routine inspection. "Inspection maybe would have found that [metal fatigue], but there would have had to have been a very serious type of inspection to have understood it and found it," he said. The airline has suspended regular service but airline officials say there is still strong demand for flights and they hope to resume service by Friday. Chalk's has been in operation since 1919 and had three Mallards before Monday's crash.