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U.S. officials defend handling of Boeing 787 mishaps

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Photo courtesy Boeing Photo courtesy Boeing

By JOAN LOWY | AP

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Obama administration officials are struggling to defend their initial statements that the Boeing 787 is safe. They are promising a transparent probe of mishaps involving the aircraft's batteries.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood by his Jan. 11 assertion that the 787, Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced airliner, was safe. At that time, he and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Huerta, declared the plane fit to fly despite a battery fire in one plane.

Five days later, following another 787 battery mishap in Japan, LaHood and Huerta ordered the lone U.S. carrier with 787s to ground the planes. Authorities in other countries swiftly followed suit.

Huerta, joining LaHood, said FAA is working as quickly as possible to find the cause of the problems.

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