Shuttle Debris Search Could be Speeding Up - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/05/03 - Nacogdoches County

Shuttle Debris Search Could be Speeding Up

   The search and collection of Columbia debris is escalating.

   New collection teams were set up Wednesday so local and state first responders can now pick up non-hazardous shuttle pieces.

   As sleet fell in Nacogdoches, those collection workers entered a pond to retrieve a large piece of wreckage. It was first seen falling from the sky Saturday. NASA confirmed the piece taken from the pond Wednesday was a panel from the lower fuselage.

   Also, there was a major find for NASA last night. Part of a shuttle wing was discovered in Nacogdoches County.

   And, there's a new debris warning going out to East Texans.

   "If anyone should notice a strong fish odor, this is a hydrazine fuel and stay away from it," says Mark Webb, Hemphill Command Information Officer. "Also if you notice an ammonia smell, this is probably the most hazardous," says Webb. "The analogy that was given was that the stuff you buy in the grocery store is like 2 percent and this is like 100 percent and it will hurt you quickly. So stay away from that, and also there is another oxidizer that smells like bleach and that should be avoided as well."

   And it was a somber day in Shreveport. The remains of the astronauts were flown from Barksdale to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the military's largest mortuary, for further identification.

   Dana Dixon, reporting.

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