Russian searchers recover flight recorder from Armenian plane Airbus A-320, crashed with 113 people on board

Workers using a remote-controlled diving apparatus with a robotic arm plucked the recorder from the sea floor nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet) beneath the surface after removing a layer of silt up to half a meter (1.5 feet) thick that had covered the "black box" and hidden it from searchers for days, he said.

Levitin told a news conference that authorities hope to soon recover the flight data recorder, which they believe is under silt just three to five meters (10-15 feet) away.

Officials hope the recorders will help determine the cause of the May 3 crash of the Armavia Airbus A-320, which plunged into the sea in heavy rain and poor visibility as it approached the airport on a flight from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to the Russian resort city of Sochi.

"I think that what happened would be revealed," said Tatyana Anodina, head of the Interstate Aviation Committee, the civil agency that links Russia with 11 other former Soviet republics.

Anodina said the cockpit voice recorder was damaged by the crash and may have suffered from the harsh conditions beneath the silt, but expressed confidence that it would yield information "very important to investigators" - a recording of the voices and other sounds in the cockpit in the final minutes of the doomed flight.

The Interstate Aviation Committee will seek to coax the sound out of the box, working with French investigators and Armenian representatives, Anodina said. She said it was unclear when they might have results, the AP reports.

Prosecutors almost immediately dismissed the possibility that terrorists brought the plane down, and officials point to rough weather or pilot error as the likely cause, but Armavia officials have suggested air traffic controllers are at least partly to blame.