Flight 587 Blamefest...

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Public Filings Point Fingers...

The NTSB last Thursday issued its most recent investigation update as it works toward its final determination (expected this summer) of cause in the vertical-fin-and engines-shedding crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001. And the high-stakes process of assessing blame for the event -- which killed 260 people on the aircraft and five more on the ground -- has swung into high gear. The airline, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), whose members were at the controls, and Airbus, which made the A300-600 that crashed, have reacted to the NTSB's latest release with public filings of their own (AVweb was unable to obtain a copy of Airbus' filing to post here). Each blames the other, to some degree, for the disaster. According to earlier findings already released by the NTSB, Flight 587 had just taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York when it hit the wake turbulence of a Boeing 747. The NTSB suspects that during the pilot's efforts to compensate for the effects of the large wake, the vertical stabilizer of the Airbus broke free from the airframe. Both engines also tore free prior to impact and the remaining airframe crashed into Belle Harbor, not far from JFK. There were no survivors.