Former NTSB chairman concerned for future aviation safety
It's been more than two weeks since a plane crashed in Chickamauga Lake, and family members are still waiting for answers about why it crashed.
A spokesperson for Frank Davey's family said everything is on hold for now.
They are waiting for the NTSB to begin an investigation into what led to the plane crash that claimed the lives of Frank Davey and Lynda Marinello.
Jim Hall led the NTSB for seven years. He told Channel 3 this crash is one of more than 80 crashes across the country that are not being investigated.
"The system is designed to respond immediately to these events and to gather the information at the time it is, a tragedy has just occurred," Hall explained.
Hall said the longer the partial government shutdown goes on, the more difficult it will be for investigators to catch up on the growing list of crashes that needs their attention.
"When you invest your life into building a structure to provide safety for the American people and you watch it being taken apart, it's very disturbing," Hall said.
Just two weeks ago, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and other agencies removed a plane that crashed in Chickamauga Lake. The veteran pilot, Davey, and his passenger, Marinello, did not survive.
Now, the plane is being held in an undisclosed location so NTSB investigators can figure out what happened. However, they can't do that because the majority of NTSB employees are furloughed.
"The NTSB is the highway patrol of the skies,” Hall urged. “This is like having a fatal accident on our interstates here and not having anyone respond to it."
Hall said he's concerned the historic shutdown will make it hard to recruit and hire skilled investigators going forward.
"It's going to be very difficult to attract people, the type of talent that we need, to investigate these accidents and keep our skies safe if that condition continues," Hall explained.
Hall believes there is a greater risk when flying private or commercial right now due to the growing number of TSA agents, FAA employees and NTSB investigators who are not at work.