The burned out remains of the Flight 214’s fuselage were removed early Friday from a runway at San Francisco International Airport, the beginning of an effort to get the busy airport back into full service.
The fuselage remains were loaded onto a trailer overnight by two large cranes on Runway 28L and then was towed by a truck to a fenced-in area of the airport. Other large pieces of wreckage were also being moved to the remote area.
The work was halted for a short time around 3:30 a.m. when cutting tools sent smoke billowing over the crash site. Firefighters were called to the scene as a precaution and the cleanup work continued.
A clean-up crew has been working on clearing debris site, preparing the runway for a possible re-opening by late Sunday or early next week.
Among the debris is hundreds of gallons of jet fuel and oil that leaked out of the damaged plane that caught and was heavily damaged. Smoke was seen streaming out of the remains of the plane at 3 a.m.
Firefighters quickly put out the smoldering embers.
The National Transportation Safety Board has turned over control of Runway 28L, but it remains closed until the debris is cleaned up. The shutdown has caused at least 120 flight cancellations a day since the crash.
"The airport's primary goal at this point is to reopen Runway 28L as quickly as possible, said Airport Director John Martin said in a statement. “I want to thank all of our passengers and our airlines for their patience. We will work round the clock to make all the necessary repairs."
The work that needs to be done includes cleaning up spilled jet fuel, checking electrical systems, repairing runway lights and fixing damage to the seawall, airport officials said.
The FAA will also conduct test flights to re-certify the runway for use.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.