US investigators press for clues in jet mishap
Federal investigators on Monday began examining the burned carcass of a Continental Airlines plane that veered off a runway in Denver and caught fire, injuring 38 people.
The twin-engine Boeing 737-500 was left in a shallow, snow-covered ravine where it came to rest after its aborted takeoff Saturday at Denver International Airport. National Transportation Safety Board officials wanted to make use of scarce daylight hours to examine the wreck, measure skid marks and then conduct their first interviews of the pilots. The accident forced the 115 passengers and crew aboard Continental's Flight 1404 to flee through emergency exits as the plane burned. The jet had shed its left engine and both main landing gears, and caught fire. The entire right side of the jet was burned, and melted plastic from overhead compartments dripped onto the seats. The plane veered off course about 2,000 feet (600 meters) from the end of the runway and did not appear to have got airborne, city aviation manager Kim Day said. Bill Davis, an assistant Denver fire chief assigned to the airport, said it was a miracle that everybody survived.