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Investigators Unclear When They Will Be Able to Decode FlyDubai’s Black Box

Investigators have retrieved data from the plane that crashed in Russia early Saturday morning, killing all aboard.

A damaged cockpit recorder that was found at the site of a plane crash in southern Russia has been retrieved. A Boeing 737-800 operated by Dubai-based budget carrier Flydubai crashed at 3:42 a.m. Saturday morning, killing all 55 passengers and seven crew members aboard the plane.

Two black boxes were recovered from the crash site, one containing flight data and one from the cockpit. Although the data recorder was mostly intact, the black box from the cockpit was severely damaged and, though the data has been retrieved, it could be a while before knowing what happened in the final moments aboard the flight.

“Memory has already been retrieved from the black boxes, it’s being worked on,” a spokesman of the Interstate Aviation Committee told Reuters. “The decoding of the two black boxes may take between several weeks and several months.”

The crash happened as a jet tried to land in gusting wind at a regional airport. The plane was unable to land on its first attempt and then entered a holding pattern for two hours, attempting to wait until the weather improved. On the second attempt to land, the plane’s wing struck the ground and it began to burn and break apart. According to Slate, “Although the cause of the crash remains under investigation, experts immediately said wind shear, a phenomenon that involves a sudden shift in wind speed or direction, likely contributed to the crash.”

While weather is likely the culprit for the crash itself, investigators think another factor may have been either pilot error or a technical failure. They do not believe any type of attack was involved. Regardless, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an examination of flight safety rules.


An emergency worker and a sniffer dog comb through the wreckage of the crash.


Fuselage scattered across the crash site.

Video appears to show the moment of impact.

[Photos: Interstate Aviation Committee, Reuters, Maxim Grigoryew/TASS; Video: YouTube]

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