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NOAA SHIP WHITING BEGINS
ITS SEARCH FOR EGYPTAIR FLIGHT 990
November 2, 1999 The NOAA
Ship Whiting today joined the search and recovery efforts
off the coast of Nantucket Island for EgyptAir Flight 990. The
Whiting left the naval base in Newport, Rhode Island, Monday
evening where it refueled and replenished its supplies for the
(Photo: Whiting in Newport,
Rhode Island, naval base preparing to leave for its mission.)
(Photo credit: Robert Chartuk, NOAA)
The ship began its operations
around 4:30 a.m. EST using its sophisticated side-scan
sonar (SSS) equipment to begin mapping the ocean floor in
search of the downed aircraft. The ship specializes in locating
seafloor submerged wrecks and obstructions to navigation.
Housed in a small torpedo-shaped bell
called a "fish," the SSS provides an accurate acoustical
image of the bottom extending up to 600 meters on each side of
the ship. The actual amount of bottom coverage acquired by the
SSS is dependent upon the depth of water, the towfish height
above the ocean bottom, and specific water characteristics. During
typical survey operations in depths between 10 and 60 meters,
a 200-meter wide bottom swath can be examined as the SSS fish
is towed slowly astern. SSS creates a map-view image. Differential
Global Positioning System receivers use satellites to position
the ships within five meters (17 ft.); conductivity, temperature
and depth (CTD) probes determine sound velocity through water
to correct depth soundings.
- 163-ft. hydrographic
- Carries high speed side-scan
- Covers about 16 sq. miles
every 24 hours, traveling at 10 knots
- Carries two launches with
side-scan sonar, tripling its production capacity
- Under command of Lt. Cmdr.
Gerd Glang, NOAA Commissioned Corps
- Home ported in Norfolk, Va.
Was working out of Delaware Bay at time of accident.
The Whiting is operated and
managed by the Office of NOAA
Corps Operations, composed both of civilians and officers
of the NOAA Corps,
the nation's seventh uniformed service.
FOCUSED MULTI-BEAM SIDE SCAN SONAR
OFFICE OF COAST SURVEY
The nation's official chartmaker.
NOAA LOCATES WRECKAGE ON OCEAN FLOOR
AFTER TWA FLIGHT 800 DISASTER
Office of NOAA Corps
NOAAs beginning, a large percentage of its oceanographic,
atmospheric, hydrographic, fisheries and coastal data has been
collected on NOAA
ships and aircraft. This fleet of platforms is managed and
operated by the Office of NOAA Corps Operations, an office made
up of civilians and officers of the NOAA
Commissioned Corps (a uniformed service of the United States).
In addition to research and monitoring activities critical to
NOAAs mission, NOAA ships
and aircraft provide immediate response capabilities for unpredictable
events, such as recovery and search efforts after the TWA Flight
800 crash, damage assessment after major oil spills such as the
Exxon Valdez, Persian Gulf War and New Carissa, and several major
hurricanes during the 1998 season.
Rear Admiral Evelyn
Fields is the director of the NOAA Corps.
ocean information from a buoy near the crash site off the
coast of Nantucket Island. This information comes from NOAA's
National Data Buoy Center.
Media should contact Greg
Hernandez, NOAA public affairs, in Washington, DC, at (202)
482-3091 or the main number at (202) 482-6090. Media can also
contact the U.S. Coast Guard public affairs command center in
Newport, Rhode Island, at (401) 841-9541, -9542, or -9580.