NTSB talks about Iowa school bus fire investigation

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) - Ten NTSB personnel are working on an investigation of Tuesday's fatal Oakland, Iowa, school bus fire that could last more than a year, a spokesman said in a press briefing Thursday morning in Council Bluffs. 

Pete Kotowski, Investigator-in-charge for the National Transportation Safety Board, said a safety recall involving electrical circuitry had been issued for school buses similar to the one involved in Tuesday's incident.

"That recall involved an issue with the electrical circuitry, whether that has any involvement in that. That's an area that we are going to continue to examine," said Kotowski.

Investigators are still looking for the ignition source and trying to determine whether the diesel school bus, manufactured in 2004 but referred to as a 2005 International, was equipped with any recording equipment.

School buses are not equipped with devices like the "black box" found on airplanes, he said.

The NTSB investigation is running concurrently to — and in cooperation with — the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office investigation, Kotowki said.

NTSB investigators were called to the scene Tuesday evening, he said, and expect to release a preliminary report within about 5-14 days upon beginning their investigation.

"That type of information is extremely important to us because unlike aviation and marines and rail, motor vehicles and commercial motor vehicles do not have the traditional referred to as 'black box'," said Kotowski. 

Kotowski said investigations can sometimes take up 12-14 months to complete. 

They have established the positioning and trajectory of the vehicle and expect to release that information soon, he said. The cause of the incident will be determined at a later date, Kotowski said.

At this time, he said, NTSB doesn't know why the victims were unable to get out of the vehicle

NTSB is an independent organization that conducts investigations and studies to ensure safety of passengers.  

Stay with 3 News Now for more on this story as it develops.

Print this article Back to Top