Bangalore: Authorities on Tuesday said they have recovered the black box of the Air India ExpressBoeing 737-800 flight that crashed on 22 May at Bajpe airport in Mangalore, killing 158 people.
A team from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived in Mangalore on Tuesday to assist Indian officials with the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the crash. NTSB is an independent agency of the US government that investigates civil aviation accidents.
Investigation boost: A DGCA official shows the black box of the plane. PTI
The black box, or digital flight data recorder (DFDR), contains critical data until the time of the crash about things such as altitude, engine thrust and gravitational forces encountered at the time of landing. Such information is often used to determine the cause of the crash.
“The DFDR, though apparently impacted by the crash, will be subjected to further tests for decoding and made available to the investigators,” a statement by the civil aviation ministry said.
An analysis of the flight recorder will take about two weeks, an official said.
“It (the analysis) will throw light correctly. Till then, it’s all speculation,” said Peter Abraham, director of the Mangalore airport that is run by state-owned Airports Authority of India.
Indian investigators, with assistance from Air India and US-based Boeing Co., have also recovered the cockpit voice recorder that holds communication between the cockpit crew and the air traffic controller, and the digital flight data acquisition unit that provides some parameters of the plane’s operations. All three instruments will be examined at a New Delhi lab of airline regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
On Saturday, the Air India Express flight from Dubai overshot the runway in Mangalore, hit a barricade and plunged into a ravine where it exploded, killing all but eight on board. The 8,000ft runway on top of a hill was opened four years ago, replacing a smaller 4,500ft runway.
Authorities have handed over most of the bodies of 158 victims, except 22, whose identities have not been confirmed. DNA samples of these victims have been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad.
“It will take three or four days to get the report,” said Mangalore police commissioner Seemant Kumar Singh.