The National Transportation Safety Board is busy investigating the deadly school bus crash near Orland, not to lay blame, but instead to determine if there’s something which can be done to avoid an accident like this from happening again.
“We will not be determining a probable cause or speculating about the probable cause of this accident,” Mark Rosekind with the NTSB said at a Friday afternoon press conference.
Investigators had to work fast to gather evidence from the crash site so crews could reopen I-5 about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
“People are mostly urgently trying to get the highway cleared off,” Rosekind said.
A NTSB investigator was able to survey the accident scene before the highway reopened Friday at noon.
“When our investigator was here at 9:30, there was a chance to the scene, interact with the California Highway Patrol, other first responders. By the time most of the team came from Washington, most of that was cleared away,” Rosekind said.
Rosekind laid out six different factors the NTSB “go-team” will be looking at.
“Highway features and design, human performance, the two motor carriers, survival factors, the vehicle and fire safety,” Rosekind said.
The team is also looking for hardware from those vehicles which might give them an idea about speeds and other variables.
“We would be looking for an electronic control module that might exist, for example in the bus, we’ll have to look for that,” Rosekind said.
But they also need the public’s help; they are asking for witnesses to come forward so they can better understand what happened.
“Those of you who have not spoken to the police or to us, we’d appreciate you calling the police submitting a witness report, have them forward it to us, or you can e-mail us directly,” Rosekind said.
NTSB investigators will be in Northern California for at least another week or two, their investigation into how to possibly prevent future crashes could take as long as a year to conclude.