Black Box of Filipino Crashed Plane Recovered
Rescue workers on Thursday found the "black box" of the Air Philippines Boeing 737-200 that crashed Wednesday in the south of the country, killing all 131 people on board, according to agency reports.
Rescuers sift through the still-smoldering wreckage of the Air Philippines Boeing 737-200 plane shortly after it crashed at Samal Island
Air Transport Office officials in the city of Davao said the plane's flight data recorder was found in the plane's smoldering wreckage.
Data from the 20-year-old plane's instruments, combined with information from the cockpit voice recorder, is crucial for crash investigators to work out what went wrong.
The cockpit voice recorder was found on Wednesday evening and is being sent to the US National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. for analysis. The data recorder may also be sent to Washington.
Air Philippines flight GAP 541 was preparing to land at Davao airport after an early morning flight from Manila when it slammed into a coconut plantation on the hills of Samal Island three miles northeast of the airport, aviation officials said.
CAUSE OF CRASH NOT YET KNOWN
Air Transportation Office (ATO) chief Jacinto Ortega said the plane sheared coconut trees atop a 500-foot hill on its descent.
"That's not the normal height of the approach path. It's about 2,000 feet in that particular area," Ortega told a news conference.
The plane was destroyed except for a portion of its tail section, which stood against a coconut tree
"As of now it's all speculation because we don't really know what happened ... We are still establishing the real cause of the crash," he added.
One village official had told reporters he saw smoke pluming out of the plane while it was still in the air and that he heard a blast. But Ortega said he had not heard that report and the reported explosion might have been caused by the plane's impact on the ground.
Weather bureau officials said visibility at the time of Wednesday's crash was 11 miles.
As night fell Wednesday, more than 50 bodies, or parts of bodies, had been recovered from the scene, rescue officials said.
Most of the plane disintegrated on impact, leaving only its tail section protruding from the ground.
Parts of smouldering wreckage and bits of human bodies were strewn over a wide area. In some cases, all that was left of passengers were shoes. The body of one crew member was identified by a name tag attached to a piece of a charred shirt.
"Not one whole body has been found," a reporter for DZMM radio said – (Agencies)
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