AI plane crash: Black box recovered

Investigators have retrieved the black box from the wreckage of the AI plane that crashed in M`lore.

Mangalore: Investigators Sunday retrieved the
`black box` from the wreckage of the ill-fated Air India
Express flight, which is expected to throw light on what went wrong in
Saturday`s crash that left 158 people dead.

The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Digital Flight
Data Acquisition Unit (DFDAU), which record cockpit
conversation and all technical details, have been traced from
the debris of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which overshot the
runway and burst into flames after plunging into a ravine.

The throttle in the cockpit, which was extricated from the
debris, was found in a forward position suggesting that the
pilot may have attempted a final thrust to take-off seconds
before the crash.

A Civil Aviation Ministry statement in Delhi said that the
CVR was affected by fire but was expected to yield the desired

While the CVR captures radio transmissions and sounds in
the cockpit, such as the pilots` voices and engine noises, the
DFDAU records short-duration flight parameters.

However, search for the Digital Flight Data Recorder
(DFDR) continues, the statement said. Airline officials had
earlier claimed that this too had been recovered.

The DFDR records actual flight conditions, including
altitude, airspeed, heading, vertical acceleration and
aircraft pitch.

The instruments will be brought to Delhi tomorrow to be
examined by Air Safety Directorate of the DGCA to ascertain
the causes for the crash, official sources said.

Interim compensation

In Mangalore, Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav announced an
interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of the victims,
above 12 years of age, Rs 5 lakh for those below 12 years
and Rs 2 lakh for those injured.

"This will be over and above the relief of Rs 2 lakh to
the families of each victim announced by the prime minister,"
he told reporters here.

He said while 128 bodies have been identified and handed
over to the families, 12 were yet to be identified. Post mortem
was being carried out on 18 bodies.

Teams, probing the worst air tragedy in the country in a
decade, continued sifting through the wreckage to find all
material required for the investigation being carried out by
the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Experts of the US Federal Aviation Authority, Boeing and
air safety firm Kenyon will be assisting in deciphering the
black box and the CVR.

A forensic team from Hyderabad carried out DNA tests on
the bodies that have been charred beyond recognition.

158 people, including six crew, were killed in India`s
worst air disaster in a decade when Air India`s budget
carrier`s flight IX-812 from Dubai crashed at the Bajpe
airport yesterday morning after overshooting the 8,000 feet
runway. Eight persons had a miraculous escape.

Human error?

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said a human
error factor could not be ruled out but made it clear that the
report of the DGCA inquiry should be awaited before coming to
any conclusion.

"You cannot rule out a human error factor. Certainly
all parameters looked normal for a normal touchdown," he told
a news channel.

Patel also said he had spoken to the DGCA to go into
issues relating to small and difficult airports.

An official spokesperson said the analysis of the CVR
and other instruments of the aircraft would take about a
fortnight. The analysis of huge amounts of records emanating
from the CVR, DFDAU or DFDR would take a couple of weeks.

The DGCA has appointed its Director, Air Safety, Bir
Singh Rai as the Inspector of Accidents to carry out the
enquiry assisted by other experts.

Meanwhile, the tapes retrieved from the Air Traffic
Control tower at Bajpe airport have been replayed and a
detailed analysis was being carried out, the Civil Aviation
Ministry said.

Besides, preliminary probe of navigational, aerodrome
and runway facilities, existing at the time of the incident,
has been completed, it said, adding that all records
pertaining to the aircraft, engineering, operations, training,
fire-fighting and allied services have been taken over for
detailed analysis.

All the eight survivors of the crash were responding
well to treatment at various hospitals here. Doctors said the
victims who had suffered cuts, bruises and burn injuries, were
out of danger.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the local
hospitals as grieving relatives collected the victims` mortal
remains. In one case, two families from Kerala claimed the
same body and authorities said it will be handed over only after
a DNA test.

The bodies of four crew members were among those yet
to be identified. The DNA samples of all the unidentified
bodies have been sent for testing to Hyderabad.

Dazed relatives and friends of the victims thronged
the Government Wenlock Hospital and made efforts through the
night at the mortuary to identify their near and dear ones,
many of whom were charred to death.

Air India arranged for counsellors for the relatives
of the victims as well as their own crew and staffers, who
were traumatised and shocked by the scenes of devastation.

Regarding the compensation package, Air India said it
was in talks with insurance companies, including Reliance
Insurance and General Insurance Company.

The airline said it had made arrangements to provide
coffins to family members of the victims to shift the bodies
after identification.


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