Black box of AI flight not yet traced: Nambiar

Authorities have recovered 146 bodies from the debris of the Air India flight that crashed in Mangalore and a court of inquiry will be ordered soon to know the cause of the disaster, Civil Aviation Secretary MM Nambiar said.

Updated: May 22, 2010, 18:10 PM IST

New Delhi: Authorities have recovered 146 bodies from the debris of the Air India flight that crashed in Mangalore Saturday and a court of inquiry will be ordered soon to know the cause of the disaster, Civil Aviation Secretary MM Nambiar said.

He also said that the cockpit voice recorder, also called the black box, was yet to be recovered from the crash site.

"We have recovered 146 bodies, including those of the commander and two female crew members," Nambiar told reporters here.

He said an immediate inquiry was ordered by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ascertain the cause of the crash.

"The ministry will also set up a court of inquiry shortly," he said. "So far, we have not recovered the black box."

The plane, which crashed while landing at the Mangalore airport, had 166 people -- 137 adult passengers, 19 children, four infants and six crew, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Nambiar made it clear that the plane was completely air-worthy and had been acquired just two years ago and that the airport at Mangalore was also safe. There had been 32,000 landings since 2006.

"Our focus is now on rescue and relief operations. Air India will run a special flight from Dubai to bring the kith and kin of ones who have lost their lives," the secretary added.

Nambiar said the commander, who was of Serbian origin, had an experience of 10,200 hours. In Mangalore, he added, the commander had made 19 successful landings.

According to him, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel will return to New Delhi later in the evening and brief Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

IANS