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Thursday
May122011

Air France 447: Flight Box Recorders Could Unlock Crash Mystery

HO/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Authorities may be a step closer to unlocking the cause of a 2009 Air France crash after two flight box recorders recovered from deep beneath the sea arrived in France Thursday morning.

Air France flight 447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on May 31, 2009 when the Airbus A330 jet when down in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard.

Its last known communication was about four hours into the flight.

Officials are now investigating whether they can extract information from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

Before the crash, the pilot had sent an electronic text message to the airline to say that the plane was heading to an area known for stormy weather, the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

About 24 automated messages during four minutes were sent from the plane before it disappeared from radar.  The messages recorded system failures and variable speed readings.

Last month, a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution discovered the plane's wreckage using remote underwater submarines some four kilometers deep.

Of those who died, 51 bodies were found following the crash but 177 bodies are still missing.

Two bodies were brought to the surface and the remains are in a lab to determine if officials can extract DNA from them, officials said at Thursday news conference.  If no DNA can be pulled, other bodies will remain at the bottom of the sea, officials said.

Authorities said recovering the bodies took three hours to go down and up from the ocean.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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