JFK Retrieval Cost

Finding the fatal wreckage of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s private plane off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard has cost taxpayers more than $500,000, according to government and private estimates. President Clinton himself has taken responsibility for authorizing the extraordinary effort to recover the private plane. He based it on the Kennedy family’s role “in our national lives and because of the enormous losses that they have sustained in our lifetimes.” Some of the costs:

  • The U.S. Coast Guard: close to $492,000.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: about $55,000 to operate the Rude and Whiting — ships that usually survey the ocean for the purpose of updating nautical charts.
  • Forces from the Navy and Air Force (including one ship that otherwise wouldn’t have been at sea): The Defense Department will not release figures until it completes its review.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board has embarked on an investigation that’s expected to take six to nine months and involve numerous experts. (The board does not break down costs on a case-by-case basis.)
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