posted at 20:50
Author: Brittany Levine
Virgin Galactic crash investigation complicated by wide debris field
Debris from the SpaceShipTwo accident Friday in Mojave that killed one pilot and injured another stretches across five miles, complicating the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the crash, NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher Hart said during a media briefing Saturday night. "We have our work cut out for us," Hart said at the Witt Event Center in Mojave, adding that the agency's in-field investigation may take four to seven days, but the entire operation may be complete in 12 months. The explosion midday Friday killed, Michael Alsbury, 39, and injured his co-pilot, Peter Siebold, 43. The wide span of debris, which stretches northeast to southwest, indicates an "In-flight separation," Hart said, but officials don't know yet what caused it. NTSB investigators began collecting parts from the craft with the help of the FBI in an effort to "Return the community to normal" as quickly as possible, Hart said. Officials plan to interview anyone who can help with the investigation, but the surviving pilot, Siebold, has yet to be interviewed due to his health condition. Siebold reportedly injured his shoulder during the crash and was set to undergo surgery Saturday afternoon, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, USA Today reported. "The doctors do not recommend we do an interview at this stage," Hart said, adding that officials don't want to interview Siebold until he's ready.

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