Shuttle Debris Search Teams Tiring - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/04/03 - Nacogdoches

Shuttle Debris Search Teams Tiring

"The most trying part is the searching," admits Charlie Baker.

15 miles for every 15 hours. Smith County recovery teams traveled to the area deemed as "the shuttle debris field" on ATV's and horseback. With heavy legs for some, "Their heads way down like they were really tired they could hardly take another step," says Smith County Lt. Gary Lile.

And heavy hearts for others, "They keep telling us to look for human parts and that puts a strain on some officers." He adds.

The unpredictable terrain is mapped into grids that span for hundreds of miles. Many miles for little debris--two small pieces are found for this crew. "The reward is knowing you might find that one piece that will solve the puzzle", says Lt. Baker.

GPS tracking is the second part of the mission. It takes a days work from the field into a nights work at the office, "Sun up to sun down," says GPS tracker Dennis Heath from Houston. "Going back to do data work."

All in a days work... The mission is tough but the goal is simple, "This is a privilege to help." Lt. Baker tells. "It's not that someone's gotta do it, it's that were gonna do it."

The weather looks like it could get unpleasant in Nacogdoches County over the next couple of days. Recovery teams assure the public this will not hamper the investigation.

Jennifer Brice, reporting.

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