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Entries in Black Box (5)

Thursday
Jul052012

Costa Concordia's Black Box Broke for 'Umpteenth' Time Before Crash

Laura Lezza/Getty Images(ROME) -- Four days before the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank off Italy's west coast, killing 32 people, emails from the liner's technical director reveal that the vessel had a faulty black box data recorder, according to new documents leaked to an Italian newspaper this week.

In correspondence before the ship capsized on Jan. 13, Pierfrancesco Ferro, a technical director for Costa Cruises, reportedly told a repair company that the black box had broken down for the "umpteenth" time.

"The situation is becoming unbearable," he said via email in reports from an ongoing investigation by Italian authorities.

According to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, the emails showed that the black box was scheduled to be fixed on Jan. 14, when the cruise ship had docked at Savona.

The recorder was never repaired or replaced, even though the owners of Costa Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corp., insisted to Italian authorities that the recorder had been working when the ship hit rocks and then capsized off the shore of Giglio.

The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,234 passengers and crew when it struck rocks about 450 feet from the shore during the night.  A 160-foot gash was torn into the hull, causing the ship to capsize.  Efforts are still underway to right the ship, which is expected to be a total loss.

In documents, investigators said that not having the working recorder was making their probe into the accident more difficult.  Media reports say they are relying on information from a computer system that crashed during the accident.

The documents obtained by the newspaper also indicated that the ship's watertight safety doors, which were designed to prevent flooding, had been left open.

Even though Costa Cruises maintained that was not true, officers on board reportedly said leaving the doors ajar was standard practice to make it easier for employees to come and go.

The report also suggests that the crew was using unauthorized, outdated maps that were found in the bridge of the ship.

Since Jan. 13, the blame has been placed on Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain, who is still under house arrest facing manslaughter charges for allegedly causing the ship to run aground near Giglio and for abandoning ship.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May242011

Air France Flight 447: Black Boxes Indicate Pilot Error Caused Accident

HO/AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- Nearly two years after Air France flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 228 people, the plane's black boxes, discovered early last month, reveal the pilots' actions may have ultimately caused the accident.

The aircraft's data and voice recorder were found with wreckage from the airliner more than 13,000 feet below the ocean's surface.

Flight 447 had taken off from Brazil and was bound for Paris when, at 35,000 feet and nearly four hours into the flight, the plane apparently encountered heavy icing. The icing caused the speed sensors to malfunction, which meant the on-board computers were receiving faulty and confusing speed readings.

With the computers unable to process the confusing speed information, the autopilot shut down, leaving the jumbo jet suddenly in the hands of the cockpit crew.

ABC News has confirmed that when the emergency began, the captain was out of the cockpit on a break. With alarms likely sounding, his crewmates, possibly confused, tried to diagnose the problem. A German newspaper reports the captain rushed back into the cockpit shouting commands at his two co-pilots.

William Voss, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, told ABC News that the pilots could have gotten sidetracked trying to deal with the emergency.

ABC News has learned the jumbo jet, an Airbus A330 was still flyable, but the pilots apparently failed to do what was necessary to keep the jet in the air. They may have flown too slowly, causing the plane to stall and tumble out of the sky. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the crew failed to fly the plane properly.

The pilots apparently had not been trained to handle precisely this kind of emergency.

Voss said even as planes get more complicated and automated, it's important to put the emphasis back on making emergency procedures simple, and not to let technology interfere with the basics of flying an airplane.

Airbus, Air France and French investigators have refused to comment publicly on the information from the black boxes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Air France 447: Air Speed Sensors Eyed in Crash

HO/AFP/Getty Images(BERLIN) -- The investigation into a deadly Air France crash is reportedly narrowing on the aircraft's airspeed indicators. With two co-pilots at the helm, Air France Flight 447 went down into the Atlantic two years ago after speed sensors failed and the Airbus jet stalled, a German newspaper reported.

Der Spiegel cited sources who are familiar with the contents of flight recorders recovered from the ocean floor two weeks ago.  The unnamed sources told the newspaper that the chief pilot, Captain Marc Dubois, had left the cockpit just before the Airbus A330's airspeed sensors failed four hours into the flight.  The failure of the sensors caused the autopilot to disengage and the plane to stall, going into an uncontrolled dive.

The air speed sensors have long been suspected as the cause of the crash.  Air France flight 447 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on May 31, 2009, when it when down in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard.

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

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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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

Tuesday
May032011

Investigators Locate Second 'Black Box' from Downed Air France Jet

HO/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- A second flight recorder from an Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009 has been recovered by French investigators.

All 228 passengers and crew members on the plane headed to Paris from Rio de Janeiro were killed when the aircraft ran into trouble during a high-altitude thunderstorm.

The discovery of the cockpit voice recorder, or "black box," under two miles of water came after investigators located the flight data recorder Sunday that notes the plane's position, speed, altitude and direction.

Wreckage from the Airbus A330-200 was found last month about six miles from its last known location in the mid-Atlantic.

Up to the now, the only concrete evidence regarding the crash comes from an analysis of the plane's airspeed sensors, derived from automated messages it transmitted prior to the crash.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio