Shutdown halted crash probes, could cost critical evidence

DETROIT (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says the partial government shutdown stopped it from sending investigators to 22 accidents involving 30 deaths.

The agency says it will now begin investigations, but evidence may have been lost that could prevent finding a cause.

The NTSB determines the cause of transportation accidents and makes recommendations to prevent them. It had to furlough 367 of 397 employees during the 35-day shutdown.

The accidents included 15 involving aircraft that caused 21 deaths, two on railroads resulting in two deaths and two highway crashes, one of which killed seven people.

The agency said it couldn’t evaluate six other accidents to figure out if it should send investigators.

The crash that killed seven people occurred Jan. 3 on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, Florida.

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