Published 9:54 am Wednesday, March 25, 2015
France opens black box, hope to unlock crash mystery
SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France — French investigators cracked open the mangled black box of a German jet on Wednesday, hoping the cockpit recordings inside would help them unlock the mystery of what caused the plane to drop unexpectedly and smash into a rugged Alpine mountain, killing all 150 on board.
The orange cockpit voice recorder — dented, twisted and scarred by the impact — is considered the key to understanding why the Germanwings A320 lost radio contact with air traffic controllers over the southern French Alps during a routine flight Tuesday from Barcelona to Duesseldorf before crashing. French officials said terrorism appeared unlikely, and Germany’s top security official said Wednesday there was no evidence of foul play.
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Helicopters surveying the scattered debris lifted off at daybreak to eye the craggy ravine. Emergency crews, meanwhile, traveled slowly over the steep, rocky terrain to the remote high-altitude crash site through snow and rain.
The crash left pieces of wreckage “so small and shiny they appear like patches of snow on the mountainside,” said Pierre-Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman, after flying over the debris field.