The black box of the Russian military plane which crashed in the Black Sea on Christmas Day has been recovered and brought to Moscow.
The Tupolev Tu-154 plane came down with the loss of all 92 passengers and crew. At least 12 bodies have been recovered from Black Sea so far.
The aircraft was carrying the Alexandrov military ensemble due to give a concert for Russian troops in Syria, and journalists and military personnel.
The cause of the disaster is still being investigated but there is no suggestion of a terror attack.
According to Russia’s defense ministry, numerous fragments of the plane have been found, including the plane’s chassis and one of its engines.
The plane crashed soon after take-off from an airport near Sochi, where it had landed for refueling.
Image source WIkimedia
The aircraft disappeared from radar two minutes after taking off from Adler airport at 05:25AM local time on Christmas Day, heading for Latakia in Syria.
It was carrying 64 members of the famed Alexandrov military ensemble, as well as one of Russia’s best-known humanitarian figures, Yelizaveta Glinka, known as Dr. Liza, executive director of the Fair Aid charity.
The black box was found by a Seaeye Falcon underwater remotely operated vehicle at a depth of 56ft, 5,000ft from the shore, the Russian defense ministry told Russia’s Ria-Novosti news agency.
A military spokesman said the recorder was in a “satisfactory condition”.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu described the crash as a “horrible tragedy” and said everything was being done to establish the cause.
It is believed that the location of a second black box has also been established and it could be recovered shortly.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov reiterated that investigators were looking into whether pilot error or a technical fault might have brought down the aircraft.
A source close to the investigation told Interfax the plane may have been overloaded.
“Witness accounts and other objective data obtained during the investigation suggest the plane was unable to gain height and for some reason – possibly overloading or a technical fault – crashed into the sea,” the unnamed source said.
According to an Aviation Safety Net report, the plane made a U-turn back towards the coastline shortly after take-off, before disappearing off the radar.
However, an audio recording played on Russian media and said to be of the final conversation between air traffic controllers and the plane reveals no sign of any difficulties.
Voices remain calm until the plane disappears and the controllers try in vain to re-establish contact.
The plane involved in the crash was an old model no longer flown by air lines in Russia but still used by the military. It was 33 years old.
The black box of the Russian warplane downed by Turkey on the Syrian border last month is damaged, Russian investigators say.
The Su-24 jet’s flight recorder was officially opened in Moscow on December 18 in front of journalists and diplomats.
Nikolai Primak, head of the Russian investigation, said flight information appeared to be missing.
Data from the box could help resolve the dispute over the jet’s location when it was hit.
An analysis is expected to be released next week.
The downing of the jet plunged relations between Russia and Turkey into crisis, with Moscow imposing sanctions in response.
Turkey insists that the fighter jet, from the Russian air contingent deployed in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, ignored warnings to leave its airspace.
Russia says it was shot down within Syrian airspace and President Vladimir Putin vented his anger at Turkey’s government again on Thursday, accusing it of subservience to the US and of “creeping Islamisation”.
Turkey and Russia are heavily involved in Syria but take radically different positions despite both being ostensibly opposed to ISIS.
The Su-24 was shot down by F-16 fighters on November 24.
Both crew members ejected but the pilot was killed, apparently by militants on the ground while the navigator was rescued.
A Russian marine sent to rescue the crew was also killed and a helicopter destroyed on the ground.
Russia has demanded an apology from Turkey and in the meantime has imposed sanctions including a ban on package holidays, which could cost Turkey billions of dollars.
The “black box” flight recorder of Germanwings plane that crashed in the French Alps with 150 people onboard, has been found, the French interior minister says.
The Airbus A320 – flight 4U 9525 – went down between Digne and Barcelonnette. There are no survivors, officials say.
The German aircraft was on its way from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
The cause of the crash is not known and the plane did not send a distress signal.
Among the passengers were 16 German students returning from an exchange trip.
Germanwings, a low-cost airline owned by Germany’s main carrier Lufthansa, has an excellent safety record.
A recovery team reached the site, in a remote mountain ravine, earlier on Tuesday. Their work was called off in the evening and will resume at first light on Wednesday, the French interior ministry said.
Bruce Robin, a prosecutor from Marseille, told the Reuters news agency that he had seen the wreckage of the aircraft from a helicopter.
“The body of the plane is in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage,” he said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also flown over the crash site and described it as “a picture of horror”, the Associated Press news agency says.
Most of the dead are believed to be German or Spanish citizens.
The plane began descending one minute after it reached its cruising height and continued to lose altitude for eight minutes, Germanwings managing director Thomas Winkelmann told reporters.
Thomas Winkelmann said the aircraft lost contact with French air traffic controllers at 10:53 at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.
The plane did not send out a distress signal, officials said. Earlier reports of a distress call, quoting the French interior ministry, referred to a message from controllers on the ground.
The White House has said there is no evidence so far of a terror attack. A Lufthansa official said they were assuming for the time being that the crash had been caused by an accident.
Spain’s King Felipe, on a state visit to France, thanked the French government for its help and said he was cancelling the rest of his visit.
The Airbus A320 is a single-aisle passenger jet popular for short- and medium-haul flights.
According to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the black box recovered from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos did not record his flight.
It said the audio recording FAB experts had analyzed was not related to the flight that crashed on Wednesday.
A spokesman said they were trying to determine what the recording was.
Eduardo Campos, 49, and six others died when his private jet crashed in bad weather in the port city of Santos near Sao Paulo.
Experts from the Centre of Investigation and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, have been trying to reconstruct the audio files from the black box in search for more clues as to what happened in the lead up to the accident.
The Brazilian Air Force says the black box recovered from the wreckage of the plane crash that killed Eduardo Campos did not record his flight
“The two hours of audio, the maximum recording capacity of the equipment, which were received and validated by certified technicians, were not of the flight of August 13,” air force spokesman Pedro Luis Farcic said in a statement.
“It is not yet possible to determine the date of the dialogue recorded in the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder), given that this equipment does not record this information,” he continued, adding that an investigation would determine what may have happened.
Shortly after the accident, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff declared three days of mourning and halted all her re-election campaign activities for October’s presidential poll.
Eduardo Campos, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), had been running third in opinion polls.
It is not yet clear who will replace him as presidential candidate for the PSB.
The PSB has said it will meet on August 20.
Analysts say his running mate, 56-year-old Marina Silva, a popular politician and a former environment minister, could step in.
Under Brazilian law, the party has 10 days to choose a substitute.
It could also decide not to run and throw its support behind another candidate.
Eduardo Campos, a former governor of the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, was on his way from Rio de Janeiro to the city of Guaruja, near Santos, when the Cessna 560XL he was travelling in went down into a residential area, killing everyone on board.
Officials have blamed the crash on bad weather, but a federal investigation on the cause remains underway.
Ukrainian separatists have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts.
The handover came hours after the UN Security Council voted unanimously to demand immediate international access to the crash site.
EU foreign ministers will consider more sanctions against Russia on Tuesday.
The Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed last Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.
Western nations say there is growing evidence that flight MH17 was hit by a Russian-supplied missile fired by rebels, but Russia has suggested Ukrainian government forces are to blame.
EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, are thought likely to discuss expanding the list of Russian officials targeted by sanctions, but have so far steered clear of targeting whole sectors of the Russian economy.
Both the EU and the US imposed sanctions on Moscow following its annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian separatists have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts
Experts say the “black boxes” will reveal the exact time of the incident and the altitude and precise position of the aircraft.
They should also contain the cockpit voice recorder, which it is hoped will provide clues as to what the cause of the crash was.
The head of the Malaysian delegation at the handover in Donetsk told reporters that the recorders were “in good condition”.
The handover followed talks between the rebel commander and self-styled Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Borodai and the Malaysian PM Najib Razak, according to a statement of Najib Razak.
The Malaysian prime minister also said those talks led to the rebels agreeing to allow the bodies to be transported to Kharkiv and international investigators to access the area.
“In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel and that I feel,” he said.
“But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome.”
Pro-Russian rebels allowed a freight train carrying the bodies of 282 passengers to be moved from a town near the crash site to Donetsk on Monday.
The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation are travelling with the train to the city of Kharkiv, where it is expected to arrive later on Tuesday.
From there, the bodies will be prepared for transfer by air to the Netherlands where forensic experts will evaluate and identify them.
Meanwhile a UN resolution, proposed by Australia, was passed calling for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the downing of the plane over Grabove on July 17.
It also demanded that those responsible “be held to account and that all states co-operate fully with efforts to establish accountability”.
Australian defense vessel Ocean Shield searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has detected signals consistent with those from black box flight recorders.
The Ocean Shield acquired the signal twice, once for more than two hours, said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is leading the search.
He called it the “most promising lead” so far.
However, ACM Angus Houston said more information was needed: “We haven’t found the aircraft yet and we need further confirmation.”
Malaysia Airlines plane, carrying 239 people, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it disappeared. Malaysian officials say they believe it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
ACM Angus Houston said the signals were detected using the towed pinger locator deployed on the Ocean Shield.
Two separate detections occurred, he said. The first was held for two hours and 20 minutes before being lost.
The ship then turned around and on the return leg detected the signal again for 13 minutes.
Australian defense vessel Ocean Shield searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has detected signals consistent with those from black box flight recorders (photo AP)
“On this occasion two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder,” ACM Angus Houston said
“We are now in a very well defined search area, which hopefully will eventually yield the information that we need to say that [Malaysia Airlines flight] MH370 might have entered the water just here.”
The Ocean Shield was still in the area but had not been able to reacquire the signals since, he said.
The position of the signals needed to be fixed, ACM Angus Houston said. Once that happened, the Ocean Shield could lower the Bluefin 21 underwater autonomous vehicle to try to locate wreckage on the sea floor.
The signal had been heard in sea with a depth of 4,500m, he added, which was at the limit of the capability of the Bluefin 21.
ACM Angus Houston cautioned that the next steps would take time.
“It could take some days before the information is available to establish whether these detections can be confirmed as being from MH370,” he said.
“In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast.”
The search operation is in a race against time as the flight recorders’ batteries are due to run out, meaning a signal would no longer be emitted.
A Chinese search vessel, Haixun 01, also said it briefly heard signals over the weekend in a different search area.
Those signals are now being investigated with the help of a British naval vessel, HMS Echo, which is equipped with sophisticated sound-locating equipment.
Reports said the crew of the Chinese ship had been using a sonar device called a hydrophone to pick up sounds.
Experts said it was technically possible but unlikely that the sounds heard with this equipment related to the missing plane.
Chris Portale, a director of the US company Dukane which makes the device that emits signals from flight recorders, said looking for the Malaysian plane’s “black boxes” was like “looking for a suitcase on the side of a mountain” but under water.
So far, not a single piece of wreckage has been found from the missing plane, but officials have concluded – based on satellite data – that it ended its flight in the sea to the west of the Australian city of Perth.
Audio recording of the conversation between Captain Francesco Schettino and Port Authority officials after the doomed Italian luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia struck rocks Friday was released Tuesday morning.
At least eleven people were killed in the aftermath and dozens more are still missing. The follow is a translation of the recording, which was posted on the news website Corriere della Sera.
“Captain Schettino: It’s Captain Schettino.
Port Authority: Schettino, listen to me, there are people trapped onboard, now you go back, you will go with your rescue boat under the stern of the ship, there are some steps, you climb those steps and you get onboard and you get back to me letting me know how many people are on board. Is that clear to you? I am actually recording this conversation captain.
[inaudible, captain mumbles]
PA: Speak in a loud voice.
Captain: So, the ship right now [inaudible]…
PA: Speak in a loud voice! Put your hand by the microphone to cover it and speak up! Is that clear?
Voices in the background: Tell him to come here. Tell him to come here.
Captain: So, right now the ship is tilted…
PA: I understand that. Listen to me, there are people that are getting off using the rope ladder on the stern side, you go back there and you go up that ladder the opposite way, you go onboard the ship and you tell me how many people [are there] And what they need. You tell me if there are children, women or people that need assistance and you give me a number for each one of these categories is that clear? Look Schettino, you may have saved yourself from the sea but will put you through a lot of trouble it will be very bad for you! Get back on board for [expletive]’s sake!!!
Captain: Officer, please.
PA: There are no “pleases”! Get back on board! Please assure me that you are going back on board.
Captain: I am here on the rescue boat. I’m right here, I didn’t go anywhere else, I’m here.
PA: What are you doing captain?
Captain: I’m here to coordinate rescue operations.
PA: What are you coordinating? Get back on board and coordinate rescue operations from onboard the ship.
[silence, sound cuts out]
PA: Do you refuse to do that?
Captain: No, I’m not refusing to do that.
PA: Are you refusing to back on board?
Captain: No, I am not refusing to go back. I am not going because the other rescue boat stopped.
PA: Get back on board! This is an order! You don’t need to make any other assessment. You have declared that you have abandoned ship, therefore I’m in command. Get back on board right now is that clear?
PA: Can you not hear me?
Captain: I’m getting back on board.
PA: Then go! And call me right away when you are on board. There’s my rescuer there.
Captain: Where is your rescuer?
PA: My rescuer is on the stern side, go! There are already bodies, Schettino! Go!
Captain: Officer how many bodies are there?
PA: I don’t know. I know about one… I’ve heard about one, but you must tell me! [expletive]!
Captain: Do you realize it’s dark out here and we can’t see anything?
PA: What do you want to do ? Do you want to go home? It’s dark so you want to go home? Get on the stern of that ship climb the ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people are there and what they need. Right now!
Captain: I’m here with my second officer.
[Schettino identifies second officer.]
PA: You and your second officer must get back on board right now is that clear?
Captain: I just wanted to tell you that the other rescue boat here with other rescuers stopped. It’s just stopped. Now I’ve called the other rescuers.
PA: You’ve been telling me the same thing for an hour now get back on board! On board! And you get back to me right away telling me how many people are there.
Captain: It’s fine officer, I’m going.
PA: Then go, right now!
[A second recording appears to show another conversation between Captain Francesco Schettino and the Port Authority:]
Captain: I have spoken with the company, and there seem to be some people still onboard, possibly about one hundred.
PA: And you can’t even give me a precise number? You say “there seem to be”?
Captain: Well, we were carrying out evacuation procedures, but now all the officers have gathered on the rescue boat with me.
PA: Where are you guys? All on the reascue boat? Excuse me, earlier you told me you where with one colleague only — now all the officers are there?
Captain: Yes, there’s me, my second officer, and…
PA: If the officers were able to get down there, it means they were still able to move…
Captain: Indeed, now…
PA: Then why are they not going back on board to see what the situation is like and then tell us about it, thank you? Send them on board! Send someone on board to coordinate!
Captain: Now it’s not…
PA: Send someone back on board!
Captain: I am coordinating…
PA: I am giving you an order, Captain. You must send someone onboard!
Captain: We are going on board to coordinate ourselves…
PA: Exactly! You must go onboard to coordinate the disembarking! Is that clear?
Captain: But we can no longer get on board now, the ship has sunk completely.
PA: Why did you allow them to get off, Captain?
Captain: I didn’t… We abandoned ship.
PA: And with 100 people still on board you abandon ship? [expletive]
Captain: I didn’t abandon any ship… because the ship turned on its side quickly and we were catapulted into the water.
PA: We’ll clarify later what actually happened… for now tell me everything that goes on, everything! Place yourself under the ship with your rescue boat and don’t leave.