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Cuban authorities find second black box of crashed plane

Staff Writer |
Cuban authorities found the second black box containing flight data of the Boeing 737-200 plane that crashed near the Havana international airport on May 18, a civil aviation official told state TV on Thursday.

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Armando Daniel Lopez, president of Cuba's Institute of Civil Aviation and Aeronautics (ICAA), confirmed that the black box was identified on Thursday in the disaster area, almost a week after the accident.

The first black box, the voice recorder, was retrieved several days ago.

Lopez said the discovery of the second black box was made possible thanks to experts' analyses of videos shot around the crash site, recollections of witnesses and nearby residents, as well as an investigation into the local topography.

According to the official, American and Mexican specialists working to support the investigation also helped identify the data recorder.

The ill-fated passenger plane belonged to the Mexican company Damojh and was on lease to Cuba's Cubana de Aviacion airlines.

The plane was carrying 113 people on board. Altogether 111 people died in the incident. A total of 74 bodies have been identified by the island nation's Institute of Legal Medicine.

Lopez, who heads the government commission that has been investigating the accident, stressed that the site of the tragedy continues to be preserved in case more debris will need to be analyzed in the future.

He said that all the structures and main elements of the aircraft were collected and transported to safe places for investigation, and more time was needed to figure out a definitive answer about the causes of the accident.

"We will need months to adopt some credible and probative conclusions and prevent the occurrence of similar events in any country," said Lopez.

The crashed plane was on route from Cuban capital to the third largest city of Holguin about 700 km away, carrying 113 people on board, including two Argentines, two Sahrawis, one Mexican tourist and six crew members from Mexico.

Of the 111 deaths, 100 were Cubans, mostly from the eastern province of Holguin. Only two Cubans have survived and are reportedly in serious conditions.

The aircraft was manufactured by the Boeing Company in the United States while the operating company Damojh is registered in Mexico.

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