Flight data recorder from crashed Air India plane recovered

Mangalore/New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Another part of the black box, the digital flight data recorder (DFDR) of the Air India Express plane that crashed in Mangalore killing 158 people, was found Tuesday after three days of intensive search operations.

A relieved search team of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the local police in Mangalore also displayed the DFDR, which was black due to fire and smoke.

‘The DFDR has been handed over to the air safety team of DGCA and is being brought back to the DGCA Headquarters,’ a statement by the civil aviation ministry said.

‘The DFDR, though apparently impacted by the crash, will be subjected to further tests for decoding and made available to the investigators,’ the statement, said, but did not specify the exact location of where the device was found.

The team late Sunday recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and a part of the black box containing the digital flight data acquisition unit (DFDAU).

In aviation parlance, black box is a loose term used for two vital pieces of equipment, the digital cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, both of which give crucial inputs to investigators on causes of air accidents.

One device records all conversations in the cockpit and those with air traffic control. The other has the history of the aircraft’s flight details, such as acceleration, engine thrust, airspeed, altitude, rudder position, which are also vital for crash probes.

The CVR of the crashed plane has been affected by fire but it is expected to yield the desired information, according to a DGCA statement.

Though the DFDAU, a parallel unit of the digital flight data recorder that records flight parameter for shorter duration has also been recovered, search for the latter is continuing, the statement said.

‘Analysis of CVR and flight data will be conducted in the next fortnight. Similarly, analysis of records pertaining to the crash will take a couple of weeks,’ a probe official told IANS in Mangalore.

Flight IX 812 burst into flames after falling over a cliff early Saturday and most of the 158 victims, including 19 children and four infants, were burnt to death. The Boeing overshot the runway while landing at Bajpe airport, about 20 km from here.

All six crew members of the flight, including the commander and the co-pilot, also perished in the disaster. Eight passengers survived and are being treated for their injuries in various hospitals in the city.

Police said 22 bodies are yet to be identified and DNA tests will be conducted. Forensic experts from Hyderabad have taken samples necessary for the DNA test from family members. Results of the tests will be known in about a week.

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