Wrecked plane cleared from Denver runway | AspenTimes.com

Wrecked plane cleared from Denver runway

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Workers move the wreckage of Continental Airlines flight 1404 to a site outside a Continental hangar at Denver International Airport in Denver on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 from the ravine where it crash landed on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER ” The wrecked fuselage of a plane that crashed at Denver International Airport two weeks ago has finally been removed from the ravine where it landed.

Some four dozen workers using cranes and trailers Saturday hauled the plane out of the ravine. The charred fuselage of Houston-bound Continental Flight 1404 had been sitting on its belly since veering sharply off the runway during takeoff Dec. 20, injuring 37.

The Boeing 737 caught fire during the crash, but all 115 people aboard survived.

On Friday, the plane’s fuselage was loaded onto three tractor trailers, lifted with cranes. On Saturday the pieces of the plane were moved into a Continental hangar nearby for more investigation into the cause of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not said what caused the crash. An initial report from the agency, though, said that strong, gusty wind was blowing about the time Flight 1404 was taking off.

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Just as the plane was taking off, it veered across open fields, an airport taxiway and a raised service road before coming to rest near an airport fire station. Investigators have not yet said whether the plane ever left the ground, and passenger accounts have varied.

The plane’s flight recorders were recovered, and they included an odd bumping and rattling noise. But crew members didn’t talk on the recording about any problem with wind.

Investigators haven’t found any problems with the Boeing 737-500’s engines, brakes or wheels, but they haven’t ruled anything out.

The runway closest to the plane, one of six at the airport, was closed for about 30 minutes Saturday morning while the fuselage was carted to the hangar.

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