Search for Downed Cargo Plane's Black Box Continues

      August 05, 2011 09:17

      As the search continued on Thursday for the missing pieces of the puzzle to explain why an Asiana cargo plane suddenly crashed into the waters off Jeju on July 28, neither the bodies of the crew, including the pilot, nor the aircraft's black box flight recorder had been recovered.

      On the seventh day after the plane submerged, a joint military-police search team made up of 10 vessels, including coast guard patrol boats, Navy vessels, and the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration's marine survey ships, as well as three helicopters, were still struggling to turn up results.

      The search team was focusing its efforts on an area 34 km by 28 km near the waters about 130 km west of Jeju Airport, where the plane crashed. The waters in the area go down as deep as 90m.

      The government is expected to receive support from the U.S. Navy and Singapore to retrieve the black box as soon as possible.

      "We decided to accept support from foreign countries as we only have two black box tracking devices," an official with the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said.

      "Through Foreign Ministry channels, we have already asked Singapore to deliver one tracking device and two technicians, and the U.S. Navy to send one such device by Saturday."

      The black box contains a cockpit voice recorder as well as a flight data recorder. Using these tools, analysis will then be able to determine what caused the crash by listening to the conversation between the pilot and the copilot in the cockpit and reading all of the flight data.

      If submerged underwater, the black box automatically transmits an acoustic signal on a frequency of 37.5 KHz from an SOS signal transmission device. The device is activated for up to 30 days. After this period, its battery will die.

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