Authorities: ‘Usable’ Audio Secured from Doomed French Alps Flight Black Box

AP Photo/Michael Probst
AP Photo/Michael Probst

Authorities discovered the black box for Flight 9525, which will hopefully reveal why the flight crashed into the French Alps. The BEA air accident investigation authority announced they “extracted recordings” from the cockpit recorder.

The crash killed all 150 people on board, including two Americans.

“The black box is damaged and must be reconstituted in the coming hours in order to be useable,” explained French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

A picture showed the damaged orange boxes, which are painted orange so rescuers can easily spot them. The black boxes record “from all four microphones within the cockpit and records all conversations between the pilots, air traffic controllers as well as any noises in the cockpit.”

French and German officials claim it does not appear that terrorism or foul play caused the crash. However, The Telegraph reports “the crew failed to answer three attempts by air traffic controllers to contact them.” German newspaper Bild claims it received “a leaked report from French air traffic controllers, which had been passed to the German authorities, detailing the three unsuccessful attempts to raise the pilots during the aircraft’s eight-minute descent to disaster.”

After the plane reached an altitude of 38,000 feet, it took a nose dive for eight minutes. Pilots did not alert traffic controllers or issue a mayday. The plane went down 4,000 feet per minute and “remained intact, automatically relaying its altitude, airspeed and heading to air traffic control.” The plane sent its last signal at 6,000 feet.

Due to the loss of pressure, it is more than likely the passengers passed out before the plane crashed. Decompression causes hypoxia when the body does not receive enough oxygen. Extreme hypoxia causes people “to lose awareness of what is going on around them, giving them a false sense of well-being while they slip into drowsiness.”