Search for Shuttle Debris Continues in Southern Utah

Search for Shuttle Debris Continues in Southern Utah

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News Specialist Sam Penrod reportingA search and rescue team is scouring a remote area of Southern Utah today looking for debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia.

NASA requested the search yesterday, after its calculations concluded there is a high probability pieces of the shuttle broke off, as it passed over St. George.

The focus of the search is in Washington County, about ten miles north of the town of Virgin.

Searchers have found a few random items that could have some connection to the shuttle. But they have found nothing that is obviously part of the space shuttle.

Some of Utah's most scenic backcountry is the center of a search for debris from Space Shuttle Columbia. Near the edges of Zion National Park, searchers are marking the spot of anything that possibly could belong to Columbia.

So far, what looks like the tube from a tire, is the most promising find. A few other discoveries likely have nothing to do with the shuttle, but searchers say they want to be thorough.

NASA has pinpointed a ten square mile area where some debris is believed to have fallen. Investigators say debris that broke off at the onset of Columbia's problems, could be critical to determining what caused the shuttle to break apart. NASA's projections were determined from radar, computer models, and by talking with people who took home video of the shuttle passing over St. George.

Dean Cox/Shot Home Video - They wanted to know the time and where I was at and I was able to go back and look at the camera and determine the exact time and that really picked their interest.

An investigator from NASA is expected here tomorrow to begin examining what searchers have found to determine if any of it is part of the space shuttle. Whether or not searchers here find a part of Columbia, they want to do everything they can to help NASA find answers toin the shuttle disaster.

Searchers plan to continue looking tomorrow, but officials are not asking for volunteers at this point. NASA has also pledged to pay the expenses with this search.

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