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Flight 587 crash
Diagram showing diving aircraft
  • Experts say wake turbulence can hit planes with "tornado like lateral force"

  • After hitting the second wave of turbulence the plane’s rudder stopped responding

  • This particular Airbus had been hit by severe turbulence in 1994, when 47 people suffered injuries

  • The fittings of the tail fin were last examined in 1999. They are examined every five years

  • The tail fin seems to have come off above the point at which it was attached to the rest of the plane, raising questions about the mounts or failure in the composite tail material

The tail of the aircraft
How the tail ended up in Jamaica Bay is unclear
Plane begins to dive

In its final few seconds of flight the plane veered to the left and entered a nose-dive from 2,900 feet.

Although problems had been identified with the type of engines used by the plane there is as yet no evidence that they malfunctioned.

It is believed they carried on working even after the tail came away.

Other lines of inquiry have so far yielded no answers.

There is no reason to believe that birds were sucked into the engines - a known cause of previous fatal airline accidents.

Nor is there any evidence of sabotage.

And despite eyewitness reports that the engines had been on fire during the flight no details have been found to prove this.

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