The stakes are indeed high in the investigation into the recent Alaska Air Flight 261 crash. On Wednesday, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Robert Sumwalt III testified before Congress about the ongoing inquiry into the tragic incident, during which all 88 people on board, including 15 crew members, perished.
Sumwalt strongly emphasized the NTSB’s commitment to rigorous investigations, noting that the board wants to get to the bottom of what happened and that the stakes in this particular inquiry were especially high. Sumwalt said that the board is “very methodical and meticulous,” amassing multiple pieces of evidence including witness statements, radar data, and maintenance logs in order to paint a clearer picture of the crash and answer any questions raised about its cause.
Sumwalt further noted that although the NTSB has yet to come to a conclusion, it has ruled out some possible causes. The board currently believes mechanical failure is not to blame, and their inquiry is more focused on issues of pilot training and maintenance. Sumwalt expressed confidence that the agency will eventually come to a conclusion regarding the cause of the crash.
Though it will likely take some time for the NTSB to reach a final conclusion, the families of the victims can take solace in the fact that the investigation is being carried out with diligence and attention to detail. The NTSB understand the importance of getting to the bottom of what happened as the stakes of this inquiry are as high as they come.