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Black box found 25 meters underground at Nepal crash site

world Updated: Sep 01, 2010 12:46 IST

AFP
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Investigators searching the site of a plane crash near Nepal's capital Kathmandu which had 14 casualties have found the plane's black box data recorder, a civil aviation official said.

The small Agni Air plane crashed in heavy rain last week on its way back to Kathmandu airport after poor visibility prevented it from landing in Lukla, a tiny high-altitude airstrip used as a gateway to the Everest region.

Six tourists -- four Americans, a Japanese and a British citizen -- were among those who died when the plane smashed into a valley south of Kathmandu, killing everyone on board. "I can confirm that the flight data recorder of the crashed aircraft was found on Tuesday," the head of the civil aviation authority Ram Prasad Neupane said.

"Police are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder and the government investigation team has started its work." Reports said the black box was found buried around 25 metres (80 feet) under a crater formed when the plane crashed into a field last Tuesday and smashed into small pieces.

Thousands of travellers fly into Lukla, 140 kilometres (90 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, every year to access the stunning Himalayan range that forms Nepal's northern border with Chinese-controlled Tibet. A five-member commission formed by the government to investigate the cause of last week's crash has been given two months to prepare its findings.