NTSB to recover the TransAir Boeing 737-200 that ditched in the Pacific Ocean near Honolulu

The National Transportation Safety Board has scheduled a media briefing on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Honolulu to detail the NTSB’s coordination of the operation to recover the wreckage of a Boeing 737 cargo jet off the ocean floor.

NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator, Lorenda Ward, will brief the media on the purpose and scope of the operation, the vessels, equipment and staffing involved, how the operation will be accomplished and the expected timeline for completion. Ms. Ward will take questions following her prepared remarks. The briefing will be held outdoors.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura.

The wreckage being recovered is a Boeing 737-200 freighter (Boeing 737-275C N810TA, msn 21116) (above), operated as TransAir flight 810 when it was ditched in Mamala Bay shortly after takeoff from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 2, 2021. Both pilots, the only two occupants onboard, survived. The wreckage came to rest on an ocean shelf at a depth ranging from 350-450 feet.

The NTSB previously made this announcement:

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team of investigators to the ditching site of a Boeing 737 cargo jet off the Hawaiian island of Oahu to coordinate the recovery of the wreckage from the ocean floor.

Rhoades Aviation Inc, dba TransAir Flight 810, a Boeing 737-200 bound for Kahului, Hawaii, on July 2, reported anomalies in both engines and subsequently ditched into Mamala Bay shortly after takeoff from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii. The two pilots escaped from the wreckage and were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Honolulu Airport Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Unit.

“The wreckage of TransAir flight 810 contains important investigative information, including that captured by the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer L. Homendy. “Having access to the recorders, the engines and other components will be critical to understanding not only how this accident occurred, but how future accidents might be prevented.”

​The fuselage broke into two pieces: the aft section with the wings and tail attached, and the forward section that includes the cockpit. Both engines separated from the wings at impact. All the wreckage is on an ocean shelf at a depth ranging from 350 to 450 feet. The site is about two miles from Ewa Beach in Honolulu.

TransAir’s insurance provider contracted with several companies to bring the wreckage and cargo to the surface. The major equipment involved in the recovery operation will be a research vessel with remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and a barge equipped with a crane.

The recovery effort is expected to begin on or about October 9. Several NTSB investigators will be aboard the research vessel to coordinate the recovery effort.

Although there was an initial underwater survey done shortly after the ditching to confirm the location and disposition of the wreckage, the team will conduct another survey with the ROVs to determine if there have been any changes to the orientation of the wreckage.

Following the survey, the ROVs will be used to rig each of the engines and fuselage sections and brought to the surface.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder are located in the aft fuselage of the airplane and will be recovered after that section is brought to the surface. The recorders are of particular interest to investigators because of the flight and cockpit information they can provide about the performance and operation of the airplane. The recorders will be transported to the NTSB Recorder Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where they will be downloaded for analysis.

NTSB investigators will document the wreckage in Honolulu before the engines and other selected components are crated and shipped to facilities on the U.S. mainland for further examination and testing.

The entire recovery operation is expected to take 10 to 14 days, depending on the weather and other factors.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge will hold a media briefing in Honolulu on Oct. 8 to provide additional information and further details about the recovery operation. The location and time of the briefing will be announced the week of Oct. 3.

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