Divers hoped to find more pieces of ValuJet wreckage after they found a new crater within a crater at the Everglades crash site and recovered the largest sections of the airplane yet.
Salvage crews spent much of this morning cleaning mud and muck from around the rim of the smaller crater to keep it from spilling in while divers search for more wreckage and remains.Half of the plane, including the cockpit, still has not been located.
"All the stuff we haven't found, I think we're just about to find it," said Joe Farrell, president of Resolve Towing and Salvage.
On Monday, divers searching the new hole pulled out pieces of the aircraft measuring up to 5 or 6 feet, along with the largest pieces of human remains so far and belongings such as wallets and photo albums, Farrell said.
"Our divers can actually put their arms down through the edges of that opening," he said.
The 20-by-30-foot hole, gouged out of the limestone rock at the bottom of the Everglades muck, is at the southern tip of the 175-foot-long, 60-foot-wide crater created by the impact of the DC-9. All 110 people aboard died in the May 11 crash.
Farrell would not speculate on what else divers may find, but he said "something significant cracked the rock."
Meanwhile, a truck driver who worked for Resolve Towing and Salvage was charged with stealing parts of the aircraft. Michael E. Gadsden, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, said he took the parts as souvenirs, according to the FBI. He was released on $50,000 bond.
The FBI said a search of his home turned up a 12-by-8-inch piece of the fuselage and a circuit breaker panel, which apparently came from the cockpit.