US FEDERAL BUREAU of Investigation (FBI) agents have raided Miami-based SabreTech, maintenance contractor to ValuJet and alleged to be implicated in the cause of the 11 May crash, seizing company documents. FBI officials will not discuss the reasons for the search.

Meanwhile, Lewis Jordan, president of grounded ValuJet, has stated that he hopes that the airline will restart operations on 23 August.

ValuJet alleges that Miami-based SabreTech, was responsible for the accident, believed to have been caused by a cargo-hold fire started in a SabreTech-packed consignment of chemical oxygen-generators, which had been incorrectly labelled as being discharged.

Jordan comments: "We are now almost certain [that the crash] was caused by a vendor's falsification of records, compounded by gross and inexcusable errors and omissions in the handling, packaging, labelling and manifesting of up to 144 unexpended oxygen generators." Reports suggest, that the probe, surrounding the handling of the oxygen generators, by SabreTech employees and whether they made false statements about their handling.

ValuJet, grounded by the US Federal Aviation Administration since mid-June, hopes to restart services with seven McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s.

See Business, P15.

Source: Flight International