The Florida highway crash that killed seven people — including five children headed for Disney World — was not investigated due to the government shutdown, along with hundreds of other fatal accidents in which investigations were either suspended or never begun, according to an internal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) memo obtained by TYT.
Other major incidents with suspended investigations included last year’s capsizing of a Branson, Missouri, duck boat that killed 17 people and the deadly collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge.
According to the memo, the shutdown stopped:
- 339 fatal aviation-accident investigations
- 1,815 general aviation and limited investigations
- 44 marine investigations
- 33 rail, pipeline, and hazardous-materials investigations
- 21 highway investigations
Ninety-seven accidents that occurred after the shutdown began on Dec. 22 were not investigated at all during the shutdown. Dozens of additional investigations regarding rail, pipeline, hazardous materials, marine, and highway accidents were also suspended.
The NTSB memo was provided to TYT by a federal employee who requested anonymity in order to avoid retribution. The NTSB is an independent federal agency tasked with investigating all civil aviation accidents in the U.S. as well as significant railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline accidents.