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American Archives Month 2010

Challenges of Accident Investigation

In addition to accident investigation case files, the Aviation Safety and Security Archives has resources which focus on the accident investigation process, including the challenges that investigators may face because of the accident location or other factors.

One example of these challenges is investigation of an accident where the wreckage is under water as illustrated in these images from the David Haddon Holladay Papers.

fish with underwater wreckage

 

fish with underwater wreckage

 
On 1 August 1964, a Cessna 310-H crashed into the ocean near Manhattan Beach, California. The pilot had reported instrument loss prior to the crash.

The NTSB investigation did not recover the wreckage. A subsequent investigation conducted by David Haddon Holladay retrieved major portions of the wreckage for further examination.


 

This diagram shows the position of the aircraft on the ocean floor as described by divers. The right wing and empennage were not located.

sketch of underwater wreckage