Black box found as Algeria seeks cause of deadly plane crash

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Oum el Bouaghi(Algeria), Feb 12: Algerian search teams recovered one of the black box flight recorders of a military plane today in their quest for clues to why it crashed killing all but one of 78 people on board.

Algerians began three days of mourning for the dead from the crash of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft in the mountainous Oum El Bouaghi region of the northeast yesterday -- the country's worst air disaster in a decade. Officials said one seriously injured survivor was found in the wreckage. The remainder of the 74 passengers and four crew were all killed when the plane came down in bad weather.

A source close to the specialist search teams said they had located the black box flight recorder, which was in "good condition," the national APS news agency reported. The plane had plummeted "nose first" before hitting the ground, the source said, adding that it would have been contending with strong winds and poor visibility.

Sources said the black box flight recorder was in good condition

Emergency services chief Mustapha Lahbiri said search teams had been scouring the snowy and rugged area with sniffer dogs since early morning. The male survivor, who was in a "critical" condition after suffering serious head injuries, was being treated in a military hospital in the city of Constantine, east of the capital, where the plane had been headed. Bereaved families arrived at the same Constantine hospital throughout the day to collect their loved ones' remains.

Among the dead were the wife and daughter of a senior military officer, the defence ministry said. The plane was flying from the desert garrison town of Tamanrasset in the deep south to Constantine, 320 kilometres east of Algiers, and lost contact with the control tower as it was preparing to make its descent.

Algerian television broadcast images of the crash scene showing the broken carcass of the aircraft lying in a mountainous snowy landscape, at an altitude of 1,500 metres . "School notebooks and military duffle bags were also visible at the site of the crash," a source at the scene of the crash told AFP.


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