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Searchers recover ValuJet cockpit voice recorder

Investigators say evidence pointing to fire is stronger

May 26, 1996
Web posted at: 6:10 p.m. EDT

MIAMI (CNN) -- Searchers pulled ValuJet Flight 592's cockpit voice recorder from the Florida Everglades Sunday afternoon. (189K AIFF or WAV sound)

The cockpit recorder, one of two so-called "black boxes" on commercial jetliners, could hold valuable clues to the May 11 crash that killed all 110 people aboard. The flight data recorder was recovered May 13.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Mike Benson said the voice recorder was loaded into a cooler of water to keep it stabilized after two weeks in the swamp, and was being shipped to Washington for analysis.

Also Sunday, the NTSB said that searchers had found more evidence of a fire in the forward cargo hold of the aircraft. The newly recovered evidence supports the theory that such a fire -- possibly originating with oxygen generator canisters in the cargo hold -- caused the crash.

Feith

Chief federal investigator Greg Feith said about 40 percent of the aircraft has been recovered, including portions of two suspicious oxygen generators and some obviously fire-damaged pieces of the plane.

"Not just smoke or soot," Feith said. "It does have actual fire damage."

Feith described a seat frame with "fire damage from molten aluminum" and fire-damaged pieces of the forward cargo hold's fiberglass liner.

Other pieces of the plane from within the cabin were covered with soot, indicating the cabin was filled with "heavy black smoke," Feith said.

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