Germanwings crash: Black box 'has usable data'

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Paris, March 26: French investigators said that the usable data has been extracted from the cockpit voice recorder of the Germanwings flight 4U 9525 which crashed on Tuesday en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, media reported on Thursday.

Flight 4U9525, an Airbus A320 jet operated by Germanwings, the budget carrier of Germany's Lufthansa airlines, crashed in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board -- 144 passengers and six crew members.

Plane crash

Remi Jouty, the director of the French aviation investigative agency. said there were sounds and voices on the cockpit voice recorder but that it was too early to draw any conclusions, BBC reported.

The cockpit voice recorder was retrieved on Tuesday and the search for the second black box - flight data recorder, is still on.

He said he hoped investigators would have the "first rough ideas in a matter of days" but that the full analysis could take weeks or even months.

Jouty said the plane's last communication was a routine one with air traffic control.

The investigators have said that the plane hit the ground in the French Alps at great velocity, suggesting no explosion in flight and it crashed after an eight-minute rapid descent.

Jouty said controllers observed the plane beginning to descend and tried to get back in contact with the pilots but without success.

He ruled out an explosion, saying: "The plane was flying right to the end."

According to a New York Times report, an unnamed investigator said that one of the pilots had left the cockpit and had been unable to get back in.

"You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," the investigator adds, describing audio from the recorder.

Germanwings chief Thomas Winkelmann said 72 of the 144 passengers were German citizens.

The victims included 16 pupils returning from an exchange trip. Spain government said 51 of the dead were Spanish.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that three Britons were on board.

Other victims were from Australia, Argentina, Iran, Venezuela, the US, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark and Israel.

On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited the crash site.

Lufthansa will operate two flights on Thursday to take relatives to France.

However, a bus with 14 relatives of Spanish victims left Barcelona on Wednesday for the crash area, because they did not want to fly.

IANS

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