Georgia Plane Crash Investigation in Limbo as NTSB Investigators Return to Work
BLAIRSVILLE, GA. – According to an online news report published at 11alive.com, investigation of a Georgia plane crash is in limbo as investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) return to work. The NTSB investigators were furloughed during the government shutdown and were not working on new or existing cases.*
On the evening of December 19, a PA-28-181 Piper single-engine airplane crashed into an open field near the Blairsville Airport in Blairsville, Georgia. The plane was carrying four people, three of whom lost their lives in the accident. The fourth was extricated from the plane and transported to a nearby hospital.
The three people who died in the crash were all from Blairsville, and since the tragedy, community members have been looking for answers about what happened. However, the crash occurred right before the federal government shutdown, which affected NTSB’s ability to open an investigation. Nearly all of NTSB’s workers were furloughed for more than a month during the shutdown, and the Blairsville crash received no investigative attention.
Now that the government as reopened, at least temporarily, it is not clear whether the agency will send someone to begin looking into the plane crash. NTSB accumulated numerous new cases during the shutdown, in addition to the 2,000 cases it was already investigating when the shutdown began. And as more time passes, it becomes less likely that investigators will be able to retrieve evidence from each crash site.
NTSB has not yet released a plan of action for backlogged cases or made decisions about which cases it might not investigate at all. In the meantime, people in Blairsville are forced to keep waiting for information they might never receive.
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