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Indonesia Super Jet Crash: 'Black Box' Of Russian Jet Found

By ALI KOTARUMALOS 05/16/12 06:26 AM ET AP

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Investigators on Wednesday were analyzing the cockpit voice recorder from a Russian passenger jet that slammed into the side of an Indonesian volcano. They hope the final words of the two pilots will help explain what caused last week's crash, which killed all 45 people on board.

The "black box," found Tuesday at the bottom of a 500-meter (1,640-foot) ravine, was shattered and badly burned, said Tatang Kurniadi, who heads the National Commission on Safety Transportation, adding that the memory module appears to still be readable.

It could take up to a week to download the audio, said Mardjono Siswosuwarno, the chief investigator, and it will then have to be translated and transcribed.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 – Russia's first passenger jet model since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago – was being demonstrated for potential buyers when it roared into Mount Salak at 800 kph (480 mph) and exploded on April 9.

Debris from the twin-engine jet rained down the near-vertical flank of the long-dormant volcano. It took days for search teams to find the black box partly because it was so badly charred and hidden in heavy brush, said Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for the Search and Rescue agency.

He said the flight data recorder, which keeps track of instructions sent to any electronic systems on the aircraft, was still missing.

The Superjet – intended to help resurrect Russia's aerospace industry – was on its fourth stop of a "Welcome Asia!" tour that was plagued pretty much from the get-go.

After a successful demo flight in Kazakhstan, the tour moved to Pakistan, where potential buyers were forced to look at the jet on the runway. One media report said it didn't take to the sky because of a technical glitch, but that could not be confirmed.

Then on the way to Myanmar, it was discovered that a "nozzle in the engine" was leaking, Alexander Tulyakov, vice president of United Aircraft Corporation, the main stockholder of Sukhoi, told the LifeNews.ru news website.

It got permission from the engine maker to return to Moscow.

A replacement jet – the one that crashed into the volcano – was then sent to the region to continue the ill-fated tour.

___

Associated Press writer Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

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  • Rescue team carry boxes from a helicopter at Pasir Pogor in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Rescue teams used climbing gear to scale the nearly sheer slopes of a dormant Indonesian volcano, hoping Friday to reach the wreckage of a Russian-made jetliner Sukhoi Superjet-100 that crashed with 45 people onboard during a display flight for potential buyers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  • The logo of Sukhoi Co. is clearly visible, center, bottom, among the wreckage of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. The crash of the new, Russian-made jetliner into a jagged Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers has thrown doubt on dozens of plane sales just as Moscow seeks a comeback in foreign markets. All 45 people aboard were feared dead. (AP Photo)

  • Relatives of the passengers of the crashed Sukhoi Superjet-100 watch the news on a television at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Search teams found at least 12 bodies Friday on the steep slope of an Indonesian volcano where the Russian-made jetliner crashed while demonstrating the plane for potential buyers from airlines, an official said. All 45 aboard the plane are feared dead. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

  • Indonesian police officers walks to the location of a plane crash in Salak mountain in Cijeruk, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Rescue teams used climbing gear to scale the nearly sheer slopes of a dormant Indonesian volcano, hoping Friday to reach the wreckage of a Russian-made jetliner that crashed with 45 people aboard during a demonstration flight for potential buyers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

  • The wreckage of a Sukhoi Superjet-100 is scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. (AP Photo)

  • Relatives of the passengers of the crashed Sukhoi Superjet-100 watch the news on a television at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, May 11, 2012. Search teams found at least 12 bodies Friday on the steep slope of an Indonesian volcano where the Russian-made jetliner crashed while demonstrating the plane for potential buyers from airlines, an official said. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)


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Filed by Eline Gordts  |