06:17 AM

DFW International Airport's Mobile Command Post Tracking More Than 700 Pieces Of Shuttle Debris

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Texas (February 3, 2003) – DFW International Airport's Mobile Command Post is currently tracking more than 700 pieces of shuttle debris in Nacogdoches County and handling all incoming calls regarding the shuttle for the county's emergency operations center.

The Mobile Command Post is also coordinating the entire search-andrecovery team in the county, tracking more than 500 local and state law enforcement officers and volunteers to assure shuttle debris is properly guarded and relief schedules are in place for those working 12-hour shifts. Nearly a dozen DFW Airport employees are working with the county and NASA, and the Airport has activated its Emergency Operations Center to further support the recovery efforts.

Officials at the Command Post report that shuttle debris tracked so far range in size from a small coin to six feet in diameter. Human remains have also been reported. The Mobile Command Post will remain on-site for at least the next several days. The Command Post is working with engineers from Stephen F. Austin University to map all debris fields and their contents.

"We are proud to assist and hope that the efforts of this entire team will help NASA find the answers it needs to move forward," says Alan Black, DFW's Fire Chief who has been in charge of the Command Post since it arrived in East Texas on Saturday.

The Command Post is taking all incoming calls of reports of possible shuttle debris sightings. A protocol has been established that DFW personnel are following in regard to dispatching law enforcement officers to a debris site. NASA has requested immediate dispatch to any site where hazardous material, computer parts or larger sections of the shuttle's fuselage may be found. NASA has also requested immediate dispatch to any reports of human remains.

"We are very saddened, and our hearts go out to NASA and the astronaut's families. However, this is what we train to do, and we're very gratified we can help in the search efforts and indeed serve our country," says Chief Black.

DFW's Mobile Command Post is the most advanced vehicle of its kind in the country. Delivered to the Airport last September, the Command Post is seeing its first active service after a number of intense training exercises. The vehicle is equipped with the most up-to-date capabilities for coordinating intelligence and communications during emergency situations. These technologies include the latest in computer and satellite communications. The Mobile Command Post provides response teams with real-time data collection capabilities, enabling them to share critical information immediately and enhancing tactical decision-making.

DFW's staff is reporting directly to the incident commander in Nacogdoches County, and to the County Judge.

Located halfway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, DFW International Airport is the world's third busiest, offering nearly 2000 flights per day and serving 55 million passengers a year. DFW International Airport provides non-stop service to 132 domestic and 31 international destinations worldwide. 

Editor's Notes: This release, and past news releases issued by DFW International Airport, are available online at www.dfwairport.com in the “MediaSite” section.

For the latest news, real-time flight information, parking availability or further details regarding the many services provided at DFW International Airport, log on to www.dfwairport.com. To arrange interviews contact DFW Public Affairs at 972 574 NEWS (6397) or Ken Capps, APR, Vice President Public Affairs, kcapps@dfwairport.com