Investigators have recovered one of the ‘black box’ flight data recorders from an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009. The BBC reported France’s Bureau of Investigation (BEA) as saying that the device was “in good physical condition”. The black box records the aircraft’s technical information in the moments before the crash, allowing investigators to discover any problems that may have inflicted the Airbus A330 before it came down off the Brazil coast. The aircraft’s cockpit voice recorders however, have not yet been discovered.
The Air France plane, en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on 1 June 2009, killing all 228 people on board. The discovery of the flight data recorders is hoped to shed some light on the cause of the crash. Preliminary findings pointed the finger at the A330’s speed sensors, and both Airbus and Air France have been charged with manslaughter over the incident. Both companies have strongly disputed the charges however, complaining of an “absence of facts”.
While the discovery of the flight data recorders is expected to provide these facts, there are fears that having spent so long on the sea floor, the information contained in the black boxes may have been contaminated. An expert from the BEA said that it is too early to say whether the data will be readable.
“We can’t say in advance that we’re going to be able to read it until it’s been opened,” a spokesperson was reported telling the Associated Press news agency.
The data recorder, which was recovered using robots operating 4,000 metres below the ocean’s surface, will now be sent to Paris to be opened.