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PROBE REVEALS NO CRIMINALITY IN USAIR CRASH

SHARE PROBE REVEALS NO CRIMINALITY IN USAIR CRASH

A district attorney says he has found no indication of criminal conduct in the crash of a USAir jetliner into the East River last month.

The Boeing 737-400 skidded into the river after an aborted takeoff from LaGuardia Airport Sept. 20, killing two passengers."So far, there's been no evidence of criminality," Queens District Attorney John J. Santucci said Thursday, in what he described as an interim report on his investigation of the wreck of Flight 5050.

The local probe into possible criminal negligence or vehicular homicide is unusual. The National Transportation Safety Board is charged with investigating airline accidents.

Santucci said he wanted to consult with NTSB investigators and speak to Capt. Michael W. Martin and First Officer Constantine Kleissas before calling off his investigation. He also said he wanted to listen to the cockpit voice recordings.

The district attorney said interviews with 25 witnesses failed to substantiate a report that Martin was acting incoherently before the flight and left the scene immediately after the accident.

That report originated with the co-pilot, who has since withdrawn the remark and apologized.

Investigators found the pilot went to an airport lounge and then to a hospital after the crash, Santucci said.

The NTSB hasn't finished its probe. Shortly after the crash, a board spokesman said the co-pilot reported he accidentally punched a button that cut the throttle.