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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The somber work of federal safety investigators has nearly come to a standstill.

In California, the wreckage of a private jet that crashed into a hangar at Santa Monica Airport, killing four people, is being preserved off-site for National Transportation Safety Board investigators who packed up and left when the shutdown began Oct. 1.

Almost all of the board's 400 employees were furloughed, said NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.

Investigators examining a train collision in Chicago were kept on the job, however, because of urgent safety concerns raised by that accident.

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