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NTSB looks at possible mechanical cause in aviation accident

When tragedy struck Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco in July, Montana travelers were among those across the country who wondered about the cause. Ultimately, every accident raises questions about the safety of air travel.

The crash of Flight 214 on its landing approach at San Francisco International Airport remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and other federal agencies.

At an early stage of the investigation, the NTSB said they had found no evidence so far of mechanical problems in the wreckage of the plane, but that they would keep looking. They are now considering a possibility brought up by Asiana and its pilots. One pilot stated he thought the plane's automatic throttle-a key device which controls a plane's engine power-was functioning properly but he later realized it was not sending power to the plane's engine. Without sufficient speed, a plane will lose lift, enter a stall and descend quickly without pilot control, which appears to be what happened in the Asiana crash.

Investigators are now trying to determine if the auto throttle disengaged on its own. There have been previous reports involving Boeing planes in which automatic throttles allegedly malfunctioned for no apparent reason. Investigators of this aviation accident are also trying to determine whether the automatic throttle was ever fully engaged by the pilots before the landing attempt.

An aviation accident can cause considerable emotional and financial damages to injured passengers and the families of those killed. The goal of the ongoing NTSB investigation is to identify potential causes, such as structural or design problems, faulty equipment or pilot error.

When an investigation concludes that factors such as human error or mechanical problems have played a role in a fatal aviation accident, then the airline company or the aircraft manufacturer may be held legally responsible. If that is the case, aviation accident victims may wish to pursue compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Huffingtonpost, "Mechanical Failure May Have Caused Asiana Airlines Crash," Joan Lowy, Oct. 8, 2013

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