PARIS — French accident investigators said Monday that they had succeeded in downloading all of the flight data and cockpit conversations from the so-called black boxes of an Air France jet that crashed two years ago in the Atlantic Ocean — a critical breakthrough that could finally resolve the mystery behind why the plane went down.
Investigators at the French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses spent a full day painstakingly removing, drying and testing the circuits of the flash memory chips inside the flight recorders, which arrived Thursday at the agency’s headquarters in Le Bourget, near Paris. The data and the voice recordings were then successfully downloaded over the weekend and transferred onto a secure computer server. Copies were made and provided to the French judicial police, who are conducting a separate criminal inquiry into the crash.
In an effort to demonstrate the transparency of the investigation, investigators said Monday that the extraction of the data from the recorders was filmed and recorded in its entirety and conducted in the presence of investigators from four other countries — Germany, the United States, Britain and Brazil.