Experts doubt turbulence caused crash of cargo jet in Texas

In this March 3, 2019, photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB investigators and member of the recovery team retrieve the flight data recorder of the Atlas Air Flight 3591, a Boeing 767 cargo jet that crashed in the muddy marshland of Trinity Bay, east of Houston on Feb. 23, 2019. A recording from the cockpit of the cargo plane suggests the pilots lost control while preparing to land at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. (NTSB via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — Aviation experts say they doubt turbulence could have brought down a cargo jet that crashed into a Texas bay in February, speculating that human error or a massive malfunction are more likely culprits.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating why Atlas Air Flight 3591 suddenly dropped as it approached a Houston airport.

Flight safety specialists see the details already released as too little to solve the mysteries of the flight's final moments, but enough to rule out choppy air as a likely cause.

"Airplanes operate in situations like that all the time," says John Cox, an accident investigator and retired pilot.

Cox says investigators are probably focused on three events in the Boeing 767's last minutes: an engine surge, a small drift up and the plummet toward Trinity Bay.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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