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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 01:30 GMT 02:30 UK
Cameroon airliner black box found
Rescuers at the crash site in Mbanga Pongo, Cameroon
The crash site is in dense and hard-to-access mangrove forest
Rescuers in Cameroon say they have retrieved the flight data recorder from the Kenya Airways plane that crashed in a mangrove swamp on Saturday.

Officials hope it may shed light on the cause of the crash of the Boeing 737-800 which killed all 114 people from at least 23 nations on board.

On Monday, rescuers began removing bodies from the crash site near Douala.

The plane came down shortly after taking off in heavy rain from Douala en route to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

"We found the flight data recorder," Cameroon's civil aviation director general Ignatius Sana Juma was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

"We still need to recover the cockpit voice recorder," he said.

Flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, also known as black boxes, contain a wide variety of information, including speed and altitude as wells as cockpit voice communications.

'No survivors'

The wreckage was found near the village of Mbanga Pongo, about 20km (12 miles) south-west of Douala - about 36 hours after the plane vanished from radar screens.

A Cameroonian official in charge of the recovery effort at the scene said he had surveyed the entire site and no-one had survived.

Cameroon map

"There are no chances of finding any (survivors) under the circumstances," Luc Ndjodo said. "There is a crater filled with water and a clearing, then buried in the mud there are scattered plane parts and debris," he told AP news agency.

A team from the US National Transportation Safety Board is due to arrive at the scene, with French and US investigators already conducting aerial searches, US embassy officials said.

They will also assist with forensics and the recovery of bodies.

The International Red Cross is leading the search and recovery mission, alongside the Cameroonian government and military paramedics.

Body parts

On Monday, investigators battled through dense mangrove swamps to reach the wreckage, after parts of the jet were discovered late on Sunday.

The grim find was made by local fishermen.

"I saw one body and one arm. We also saw some seats and a piece of plane about the size of a car door," Guiffo Gande told reporters in Mbanga Pongo village.

NATIONALITIES OF MISSING
35 Cameroon
15 India
9 Kenya (crew)
7 South Africa
6 China
6 Ivory Coast
6 Nigeria
5 Britain
3 Niger
2 Central African Republic
2 Democratic Republic of Congo
2 Equatorial Guinea
1 Ghana; Sweden; Togo; Mali; Switzerland; Comoros; Egypt; Mauritius; Senegal; Congo; Tanzania; US; Burkina Faso
3 unidentified
Source: Kenya Airways

With the site inaccessible to vehicles, the recovery of bodies and investigation will be a difficult and slow process, says the BBC's Noel Mwakugu in Douala.

Flight KQ 507 left Douala at 0005 on Saturday (2305 GMT Friday) and was due to arrive in Kenya at 0615 (0315 GMT).

It sent a communication to the control tower in Douala shortly after take-off and later issued an automatic distress signal, Kenya Airways said.

Search efforts initially focused on dense jungle under the plane's intended flight path from Douala and then on a swamp area where fishermen reported hearing noises the night the plane disappeared.

Officials said it was too early determine what caused the crash.

The aircraft was just six months old and part of a new fleet bought by the airline, which has a good safety record.

In January 2000, one of its planes crashed into the sea after taking off from Abidjan, killing 169 passengers. Ten people survived.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Rescue workers at the crash site



SEE ALSO
Grief and confusion in Kenya
07 May 07 |  Africa
In pictures: Cameroon crash scene
07 May 07 |  In Pictures
Cameroon air crash site located
06 May 07 |  Africa
Air disasters timeline
05 May 07 |  Europe



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