PARIS Search parties scouring the sea bed off Brazil's northeast coast have recovered the second of two flight recorders from the Air France aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, investigators said on Tuesday.
The discovery of the audio recorder, two days after the flight data recorder was fished up, brings investigators even closer to the reason for the crash as it should hold recordings of cockpit conversations during the flight's final moments.
"The investigation team localized and identified the Cockpit Voice Recorder at (2150 GMT) on Monday 2 May, 2011," France's BEA air accident inquiry office said. The device was hauled up to the team's ship at 0240 GMT on Tuesday.
A photograph of the recorder on BEA's website shows a bright orange cylindrical device that looks scuffed and battered but otherwise intact. So-called black boxes are painted orange so that they can be spotted more easily in wreckage.
The Airbus 330-203 airliner plunged into the sea off Brazil en route to Paris from Rio de Janeiro in June 2009 after hitting stormy weather, killing all 228 passengers and crew.
The discovery of the two flight recorders follows nearly two years of on-off search efforts over a 10,000 square kilometre area of seabed.
Crash theories have focused on the possible icing up of the aircraft's speed sensors, which seemed to give inconsistent readings before communication was lost. (Reporting by Jean-Stephane Brosse and Catherine Bremer, editing by Tim Pearce)