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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Cameroon opens air crash inquiry
Rescuers at the crash site in Mbanga Pongo, Cameroon
The Kenya Airways plane came down in dense mangrove swamps
Authorities in Cameroon have opened an inquiry into a Kenyan Airways flight which crashed near the coast at the weekend, killing all 114 people aboard.

The Boeing 737 appears to have plunged into mangrove swamps near the city of Douala minutes after taking off.

Rescuers have recovered the flight data recorder from the crash site and also located the voice recorder.

Investigators hope the recorders will explain why the plane stopped emitting signals after an initial distress call.

Bodies recovered

The plane was fitted with a device which should have continued to automatically emit signals for a further two days.

The lack of signals meant that it took rescuers 36 hours to find the missing plane, which was partially submerged in water and shielded from the view by the tree canopy.

Cameroon map

Initially, rescue helicopters had been searching 94 miles (150km) away, in the forests of southern Cameroon.

It was eventually uncovered barely 12 miles (20km) from Douala airport, near the village of Mbanga Pongo. Local fisherman who reported hearing a loud bang at the time of the crash helped guide rescuers to the site.

"If the plane was detected 150km from Douala, and then was subsequently found not far from the airport there is at least a question there," Celeste Mandeng of the country's Civil Protection Service said.

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

People from at least 23 nations had been travelling on board flight KQ 507 which took off in heavy rain en route to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Saturday.

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

Cameroonian officials said there were no chances of finding any survivors.

So far, 29 bodies have been recovered from the scene of the crash.

Officials say that the state of the bodies means that the process of recovery will be slow and have asked for patience from relatives.

The chairman of Kenya Airways, who visited the scene of the crash on Tuesday, said the airline would pay for families to travel to Douala for the identification process and would also cover funeral expenses.

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.

Rescue workers at the crash site

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