A search team located Air France Flight 447’s cockpit voice recorder and retrieved it from the Atlantic Ocean floor on Tuesday, nearly two years after the Airbus A330 crashed while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 216 passengers and 12 crewmembers aboard.
The find comes just days after searchers from France’s BEA investigative unit found the airplane’s flight data recorder, which records in-flight instrument information, at a depth of 12,800 feet. The two black boxes are being shipped to BEA headquarters in France this week, where investigators will open the units and determine what, if any, usable data can be retrieved from them.
According to officials, both recorders appear to be in good condition. However, while made to sustain a collision 1,500 times the force of gravity, they are only designed to withstand submersion in 20,000 feet of seawater for a 30-day period.
The recent discoveries are the culmination of the fourth search effort launched to find the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 since the accident occurred in 2009. While earlier remnants of the airplane were found floating on the ocean surface shortly after the crash, searchers did not discover the first signs of the the A330 lying beneath the Atlantic until last month, after scouring almost 4,000 square miles of ocean floor.
In light of the findings, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France KLM, said in a statement on Tuesday, “On behalf of Air France, it is my heartfelt hope that the data contained in these flight recorders may be used and provide answers to questions that relatives of the victims, Air France and the entire airline industry have been asking for nearly two years about why this tragic accident occurred.”