The FINANCIAL — According to RIA Novosti, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the Air India Express plane that crashed during landing in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, claiming some 159 lives, were recovered from the crash site today, Indian media said.
Air India Express said there were 166 people on board the Boeing 737 plane from Dubai that crashed at around 6:00 a.m. local time (00:30 GMT) at south India's Mangalore airport on May 22. The plane reportedly overshot the runway while landing in wet weather amid poor visibility and was engulfed in flames. A total of seven people survived the crash.
Press Trust of India said citing the airline sources the recorders were removed from the debris of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft this morning, along with some other plane's details which might help in the investigation were also pulled out.
All passengers on board the plane were from India, the Ministry of Transportation said Saturday, adding that the pilot was a British citizen with Serbian roots, and the co-pilot was Indian. A total of 25 bodies have not been yet identified.
There is so far been no official comment on the cause of the crash, although national media have quoted an unmanned official as saying pilot error may have been to blame.
Media said citing officials that the weather conditions were good at the time of the accident, and there were no indications so far of technical or a communications problems.
The unnamed representative of the state of Karnataka, of which Mangalore is the chief port city, said that the plane first landed before flying off the runway at "a high speed."
Other media reports say flames were visible on the plane's left wing just before the crash.
Initial reports said one of the two pilots was a Russian national. But Air India Express later announced that they were from Serbia and India.
Media outlets in the United Arab Emirates, from where the plane took off, are reporting that one of the plane's four black boxes has been recovered.
Air India Express began operating some five years ago and is an offshoot of the state-run Air India. The Boeing 737-800 that crashed on Saturday was less than three years old.
This is the first major air disaster in India since July 2000, when some 60 people were killed in a crash in the eastern city of Patna.