Two men from Boston who set out on a journey to find the wreckage of a plane that crashed 31 years ago have recovered the black box and recently got clearance to hand it over to investigators.
Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner, who were on a mission to solve the unsolved crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 980 into the side of Bolivia’s Mount Illimani in 1985, set off to Bolivia to find evidence of the wreckage, CBS News reported.
Futrell and Stoner were inspired by the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and started researching other plane crashes.
When they read about the crash in Bolivia, they decided to start their quest to solve the mystery of the missing plane.
“In the column that says ‘reason it was not found’ was high altitude and inaccessible terrain,” Futrell told CBS Boston. “And, in my head I went ‘what the…”
“I said ‘Hey we should try and go find this thing. It’s also at 20,000 feet. We’ve never been that high,’” Futrell added.
The two found the debris of the crash earlier this year 1,000 feet below the crash site and “think melting glaciers revealed much of the wreckage.”
“We found human remains, gave them a proper burial, found a million other plane parts,” Stoner said in a video they took of the trip.
They found six pieces of the black box among the plane’s parts, which includes part of the voice recording, stuck in the ice.
Upon their return to the U.S. with the pieces of the black box, however, officials initially said they violated international law and told Futrell and Stoner that the black box had to be handed over to Bolivia.
They campaigned to get Bolivia interested and get permission from the country to have the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) look at it.
They finally heard back from the agency, which said it would see what, if anything, is on the tape.
“All of them at the end essentially said, ‘Hey, thanks for doing that,’” said Futrell.
The NTSB is picking up the black box the first week in January, Futrell and Stoner said.