Second Black Box Found at Mali Crash Site

Investigators at the scene of Thursday's Air Algerie crash in Mali have found the jet's second flight data recorder, increasing hopes they can find what caused the plane to go down, killing all 118 people on board.

UN officials announced Saturday that the second "black box" was recovered safely. The first data recorder was found Thursday, hours after the plane crashed into the desert during a scheduled flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.

Although no official cause for the crash has been determined, investigators suspect weather was a factor. A powerful sandstorm was moving across northern Mali at the time of the crash, and the pilots had requested a course change shortly before the plane disappeared from radar.

Journalists look at debris at the crash site of the Air Algerie Flight AH 5017 in Malis Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014. /AFP Journalists look at debris at the crash site of the Air Algerie Flight AH 5017 in Mali's Gossi region, west of Gao, on July 26, 2014. /AFP

Modern commercial air transports carry two separate flight recorders - ruggedly built metal boxes that record data from the plane's propulsion and navigation systems plus an audio recording of cockpit conversation during at least the last 30 minutes of a jet's flight. Such information has helped explain the circumstances of innumerable aviation accidents since late in the 20th century.

Although the data recorders are commonly known as "black boxes," they usually are painted orange or other bright, fluorescent colors, so they can be located more readily in a field of wreckage.  
  
Nearly half of the passengers aboard the MD-83 jetliner that went down this past week were French; the others came from at least seven other countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, plus Canada.

VOA News / Jul. 28, 2014 08:15 KST