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Black Box of Afghan Plane Is Found

February 14, 2005|From Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO and Afghan troops have retrieved the flight recorder from a crashed Afghan airliner, an Afghan official said, 10 days after the plane hit a mountain in a snowstorm, killing all 104 people on board.

The first clear weather in nearly a week allowed helicopters to ferry troops and investigators to the crash site, 10,000 feet up a snow-covered peak about 20 miles east of the capital, officials said.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Faqir, an Afghan army commander, said the teams had not been able to recover any bodies. However, Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi said the flight recorder had been found Sunday.

"It is in the hands of the investigating commission," Azimi said.

He gave no further details.

The Boeing 737 crashed into the mountaintop east of the capital on Feb. 3 after approaching from the western city of Herat. Authorities have declared all 96 passengers and eight crew dead, including more than 20 foreigners.

Bad weather previously allowed only a brief inspection of the snow-covered crash site, but NATO officials said a team was able to spend four hours on Sunday making sure that a makeshift landing pad near an old military lookout on the summit was safe.

Afghan officials have warned that the recovery operation could take several weeks.

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