Additionally, the NTSB tries to collect as much photo and video of the crash as possible.
"Nowadays when people are filming with cellphones and iPads, all that footage becomes a crucial part of the investigation," said Ballantyne.
How long until we find out what happened with Flight 214?
The investigation will likely take many months. "We haven't even figured out how big the puzzle is going to be, much less how many pieces there are and how they will fit," said Sullenberger. "This is a painstaking, methodical, analytical process.
"One way of describing this whole investigatory process is that these investigators are in charge of writing a non-fiction detective story that may take a year to complete. It may eventually have 1,000 pages."
But Sullenberger said investigators have "a huge advantage" in this case. "The plane and most of its components have landed on an airport and are immediately accessible. It's not on the floor of the south Atlantic like Air France 447. They have the crew members who survived and are able to be interviewed ... It makes it much more likely that we will eventually find out exactly what happened, how it happened, and why it happened."
Curtis said he is also confident about the process.
"The United States has a habit of spending whatever it takes to finish an air crash investigation. When Trans World Airlines Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic in 1996, we had thousands of government agents, a little army of people taking wreckage off of the ocean floor.
"So in this case, I'm certain we'll find everything we need for a definitive conclusion. They will have plenty of everything they need to get this thing done."