August 18, 2011 11:56
Salvage has started of the debris of an Asiana cargo plane that crashed in the sea on July 28.
"We've started to salvage 39 pieces of the aircraft debris from 80 m-deep waters about 130 km west of Jeju Island," said Kim Han-young of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs on Wednesday. "We're first going to salvage the tail of the aircraft, where the black box flight recorder is kept."
It will take two or three weeks to hoist the tail out of the water.
Until recently, the ministry had concentrated its efforts on locating the source of the sound pulse that is supposed to be sent out automatically from the aircraft's black box in water, but to no avail. The black box may have been damaged by fire or the crash impact or failed to function properly because it was stuck in seabed mud, the ministry speculated.
Instead, it decided to search for the fuselage by dispatching a marine survey ship equipped with a remote-operated unmanned deep-sea submersible.
"The best-case scenario would be for us to find the black box intact in the salvaged tail of the aircraft," Kim said. "But even if it isn't there, we'll find the black box because the waters at the crash site are not so deep."
Asked about reports that the pilot took out hefty insurance policies just before the accident, he said, "Given the strict aviation regulations and structure of the aircraft, it's unlikely to be an insurance fraud."
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