NTSB investigation of Alabama crash that killed 10 could take 2 years

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 1:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - We now have a better feel of what the National Transportation Safety Board is looking at in regards to their investigation of the 17-vehicle pileup that killed 10 people Saturday near Greenville. And a timeline is starting to form regarding how long it may take to determine exactly what happened.

Four days removed from the crash, the NTSB is moving full speed head to determine the facts. It says it’s collected what it considers ‘good information’ from the site, and there are several areas of concentration.

Ten federal investigators have been collecting data through various examinations of vehicles from the crash site. A focus group is looking into vehicle factors, survival factors, motor carriers and human performance.

The NTSB is investigating a crash in Alabama that killed one adult and nine children.
The NTSB is investigating a crash in Alabama that killed one adult and nine children.

Those investigators will soon leave the scene along I-65 in Butler County. The board says it won’t state the cause of the crash but rather the facts as to what happened after an extended investigation.

The investigation remains in the early stages, according to NTSB. Information related to the crash may be released within the next 30 business days but full results could take between one and two years before any final conclusions can be made.

Gretchen Fischer still remembers what it felt like to be just 300 yards away from an unbelievable tragedy. She saw the smoke and flames and experienced the sad news that slowly filtered its way back to stranded drivers. Of the 10 who died, nine were children.

“It was awful. I still get chills thinking about it,” said Fischer who was traveling back home from New Orleans after attending a funeral.

The pileup is still being talked about and reflected upon days after the tragedy. Funeral services for the victims of the Alabama Sheriff Youth Ranch will be held over the next two weeks, the organization said. A memorial for them will be held sometime in July.

Even today Fischer finds it difficult to comprehend the enormity of what she saw, but she has no trouble remembering the kindness she found on the interstate; no irritations, no frustrations.

“People were just letting everybody in and waving, offering water bottles. I didn’t think about it at the time,” she explained of the kindness.

The investigation is moving along and so is Gretchen Fischer, healing emotionally and praying for the lives lost.

While the NTSB investigates, the Alabama Department of Transportation has a team busy making repairs to the interstate bridge where the fatal crash happened.

Workers and bridge experts are going back to the original design and putting in new structural steel and concrete, tying it all to the undamaged section of the bridge.

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