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Search teams retrieve black boxes on crashed Lao flight

November 5, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Salvage experts from France, Laos and from ATR, the French manufacturer of the Lao Airlines plane that crashed into the Mekong River during extreme weather, have located and recovered the plane’s two black boxes, Lao officials say.

The so-called black boxes (which are officially called flight data recorders and are  neither boxes nor black) should contain data from the last moments of the doomed flight, in which 49 people of 12 nationalities died, including six Australians. 250x250

Divers have recovered the bodies of 43 of the 49 aboard the twin-engine turboprop ATR-72 aircraft when it went down, the Voice of America’s Lao service reported.

Strong currents and murky, turbulent water initially prevented divers from recovering  the data recorders from the river. Later, both units were retrieved. ATR and the French aviation accident investigation agency will take the units back to France to analyse the data. Full analysis could take up to a month.

The plane plunged into the Mekong in a storm associated with Typhoon Nari during a flight from the Lao capital of Vientiane to the southern town of Pakse. While weather is considered the probable cause, it’s important to find out exactly what went wrong.

The control tower at Pakse Airport told the plane’s pilot, 56-year-old Cambodian-born Young San, to change course shortly before the crash occurred, officials say.

More than half of the 44 passengers aboard were foreigners, including nationals of Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam, the VOA reported. The plane also had five crew members, including the Cambodian captain, bringing to 12 the number of nationalities on the flight.

Written by : Peter Needham

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