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By Verna Gates
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. government investigators were able to retrieve data on Friday from flight recorders pulled from the wreckage of a UPS cargo plane, which could shed light on Wednesday's fiery crash in Alabama that killed the jet's pilot and co-pilot.
"We do have good data," said National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
She said details would be released at an NTSB briefing scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) near the crash site in Birmingham, Alabama.
It was the first confirmation that the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from the downed United Parcel Service Inc plane contained data that could help pinpoint the cause of the crash.
The recorders arrived at the NTSB's headquarters in Washington, D.C. late on Thursday, hours after they were pulled from a heap of melted plastic and debris at the crash site.
Preliminary results from the agency's investigation, which is still in its early stages, have shown no evidence of engine fire, and the pilots did not issue a distress call.
The Airbus A300 jet was approaching the runway at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth airport before dawn when it clipped the trees in an adjacent residential area and crashed well short of the runway.
The NTSB has sent investigators to Louisville, Kentucky, to study the A300's maintenance records, board member Robert Sumwalt said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was helping with documentation and the collection of evidence, Sumwalt said in a videotaped interview from the crash site, posted on the website of the Birmingham News.
"I think the wreckage should probably be moved out of here in about seven days," Sumwalt said. "We want to make sure we've got everything documented before we release it to the airline."
UPS identified the crew members who died as 58-year-old Cerea Beal Jr., of Matthews, North Carolina, and Shanda Fanning, 37, of Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Beal, the captain, had been with UPS since 1990, and before that he served more than six years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a helicopter operator.