Flight recorders found on spot of Toronto plane crash will help investigation

Investigators have found the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, or “black boxes," from the Air France jet that slid off a runway at Toronto's Pearson airport and burst into flames Tuesday.

Real Levasseur, lead investigator for the Transportation Safety Board, said there was some fire damage to the recorders, but that they "look pretty good" and that investigators should be able to recover information from them, according to СИС News.

However, it could take days or weeks before their full usefulness in providing investigative leads are known. Potentially, they will give investigators insights into the decision made by one of the pilots to land during a thunder-and-hail storm with shifting, heavy winds, and the kind of information he received from air traffic controllers at Pearson International Airport before they made that decision, New York Times says.

The voice and cockpit recorders are expected to be sent to a TSB lab in Ottawa for examination.

Canadian Transport Minister Jean Lapierre said he won't wait for the safety board's final report to implement regulatory changes to improve safety, if his advisers suggest them.

“I have an observer who will follow every aspect of the investigation," Lapierre was quoted as saying by Bloomberg at a news conference. “If he sees anything we should do right away, we will act quickly."

Air France-KLM Group Chief Executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta said excess water on a Toronto runway may have caused the plane to skid off the landing strip. The landing occurred during heavy rain and a thunderstorm that was moving over the area of the airport, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of downtown Toronto.

The plane “was in perfect working order when it left Paris yesterday," Spinetta said at the press conference. It had its last maintenance check on July 5 at Charles de Gaulle, Air France said in a statement early Thursday.

Investigators said they would study why some chutes on the aircraft might have malfunctioned and would review information about the evacuation to determine how long it took. They may also examine how passengers on future flights can be encouraged to get out without encumbrances. Some of the passengers could be seen afterward carrying what appeared to be their carry-on items, according to New York Times.

In Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board said it would join the investigation. By international agreement, crashes are investigated by the country where the crash occurred, joined by the governments of the place where the flight originated, and where the airframe and the engines were manufactured. General Electric, based in Connecticut, is a partner in the company that built the engines.

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