One EgyptAir 'black box' recovered
November 9, 1999
NEWPORT, Rhode Island (CNN) -- The flight data recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990 was recovered from the ocean floor Tuesday and brought to the surface, the Navy said.
The so-called "black box" was retrieved by the robot submarine Deep Drone from the Navy salvage vessel USS Grapple. The Grapple is being repositioned in order to recover the plane's second "black box," the cockpit voice recorder, located about 15 feet away.
The recovered data recorder is expected to be flown to the National Transportation Safety Board lab in Washington as soon as possible for analysis.
The black boxes were buried amid wreckage and silt 250 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Investigators have said that whenever a piece of wreckage is moved, sediment gets stirred up, reducing visibility.
The plane took off early October 31 from New York's Kennedy Airport bound for Cairo before it then plunged 33,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, about 50 miles south of the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. No distress call went out from the crew.
Investigators are looking into all possibilities for the crash, including mechanical failure, human error and sabotage.
The Magnum is made of titanium and has a seven-jointed arm that can be manipulated from its ship to grasp the recorders. It also has a cage that protects it from the heavy seas. Both Magnum and Deep Drone are remote-controlled underwater vessels about the size of a minivan.
The civilian salvage ship Carolyn Chouest, which carries the Magnum, can also withstand rougher conditions than the USS Grapple, which carried Deep Drone, because the Carolyn Chouest can float in a fixed spot without dropping anchor.
Investigators said it is too dangerous to send divers for the black boxes because the divers' air hoses could get severed or tangled in the wreckage.
All wreckage is being treated as evidence in case the disaster turns out to be a crime.
Also Tuesday, a Coast Guard helicopter is scheduled to drop flowers at the crash site. The flowers are from relatives of the crash victims who gathered in Rhode Island for an emotional multi-faith memorial service Sunday at a park overlooking the ocean.
After the ceremony, many family members left immediately for airports to return to their homes in Egypt, the United States and other countries.
On Saturday, relatives were granted their wish to see the plane's wreckage at Quonset Point, a former Navy base across Narragansett Bay from the search command center in Newport, Rhode Island.
Better weather allows round-the-clock search for EgyptAir 'black boxes'
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