Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Air France flight recorder found

1 May 2011 Last updated at 20:57 GMT Inage of data recorder provided by France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis The recorder was found partially embedded in sand on the sea bed One of two flight recorders from an Air France plane that crashed in 2009 off the coast of Brazil has been recovered, officials say.

France's Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the device was "in good physical condition".

French search teams last week found the outer casing of the so-called black box recorder, but not its memory.

The Air France Airbus plane went down in the Atlantic on 1 June 2009, killing all 228 people on board.

Cockpit conversations

The wreckage was discovered last month after a long search of 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq miles) of sea floor.

The remains of the plane were found only on a fourth attempt, using robots capable of operating 4,000m (13,120ft) below the ocean's surface.

The Paris-bound Air France jet went down after running into an intense high-altitude thunderstorm, four hours following take-off from Rio de Janeiro.

Those on board came from more than 30 countries, though most were French, Brazilian or German.

Experts say the data in the flight recorders - which records cockpit conversations - is the only hope of finding out why the plane crashed into the sea.

But one expert told the Associated Press that the data recorder's information may yet prove unusable, as it was subjected to underwater pressure for nearly two years.

"We can't say in advance that we're going to be able to read it until it's been opened," a spokeswoman told the news agency.

The data recorders are expected to be sent back to Paris for testing.

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