NTSB: Flight recorders recovered from UPS plane wreckage

NTSB: Flight recorders recovered from UPS plane wreckage

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NTSB investigators carry out the flight recorders from UPS cargo plane Flight 1354. Source: NTSB NTSB investigators carry out the flight recorders from UPS cargo plane Flight 1354. Source: NTSB
An NTSB investigator holds one of the flight recorders recovered from UPS cargo flight 1354. Source: NTSB An NTSB investigator holds one of the flight recorders recovered from UPS cargo flight 1354. Source: NTSB
Investigators with the NTSB locate the flight recorders in the wreckage of the UPS plane that crashed in Birmingham. Source: NTSB Investigators with the NTSB locate the flight recorders in the wreckage of the UPS plane that crashed in Birmingham. Source: NTSB
NTSB spokesman Robert Sumwalt said they are concerned the black box may be damaged beneath the melted metal of the plane's wreckage. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC NTSB spokesman Robert Sumwalt said they are concerned the black box may be damaged beneath the melted metal of the plane's wreckage. Source: Alan Collins/WBRC
The NTSB is also looking for pieces of debris that have fallen in the nearby neighborhoods. If you find a piece of debris, please email witness@ntsb.gov. Source: Christy Hutchings/WBRC The NTSB is also looking for pieces of debris that have fallen in the nearby neighborhoods. If you find a piece of debris, please email witness@ntsb.gov. Source: Christy Hutchings/WBRC
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The flight recorders aboard the UPS cargo plane that crashed in Birmingham on Wednesday have been recovered, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed today.

NTSB investigators located the recorders among the burned wreckage of Flight 1354. The flight recorders, or "black boxes," were feared to have been damaged since they were located in a section of the plane that had badly burned and smoldered for hours.

The flight was on a routine route from Louisville, Ky. to Birmingham, Ala. when it crashed a few hundred yards shy of Runway 18 around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The crash killed the only two people on board, the plane's pilot and co-pilot. One of the pilots has been identified by family members as Shanda Fanning, who lived in Lynchburg, Tenn., according to WAVE.

A relative has identified the other pilot as Cerea Beal Junior, WAVE reported.

The Jefferson County Coroner's office says they are waiting for more evidence from the crash site before determining the pilots' official causes of death. The bodies of the flight crew were examined this morning, but the coroner has not yet made contact with their families to make arrangements.

The coroner is expected to officially release the names of the pilot and co-pilot sometime today.

On Thursday, the focus of the NTSB's first full day of investigation centered on finding the flight recorders. The NTSB has a team of 26 people on the ground gathering evidence from the crash scene and surrounding areas.

NTSB board member and spokesman Robert Sumwalt said they believed the black box was located in a section of the plane that burned for hours, melting some of the metal. He said they were using pick axes to pick through the burned metal, which had solidified after cooling down.

Sumwalt said there are two flight recorders, one used to capture the pilots' voices and a flight data recorder. He said the information will tell investigators the speed of the plane and many other details about the final moments of Flight 1354.

The AP is reporting the flight recorders were found sometime late Thursday morning. NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss "declined to elaborate" on the discovery, according to the AP.

The NTSB tweeted photos of their investigators finding the flight recorders around 12:45 p.m.

Sumwalt told FOX6 News the black boxes were their top priority in the investigation. He said they would be sent to their lab in Washington, D.C. for analysis.

Sumwalt said this morning the plane wreckage may be removed from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport property sometime during the next seven days if not sooner.

NTSB investigators are also collecting pieces of debris scattered around the nearby neighborhoods. They will then try to piece together the remains of the plane in a hanger.

The NTSB is also interested in speaking with anyone who heard or saw the plane crash. Anyone who finds a piece of airplane debris or who witnessed yesterday's crash is asked to email the NTSB at witness@ntsb.gov.

The NTSB is planning to hold their second press conference in Birmingham at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Birmingham airport. Fox6 News will stream the press conference online at www.FoxAlabamaLive.com and the WBRC smart phone app.

For updates from the scene, follow @myfoxal, @Fox6Hardison, @fox6alancollins, @araizareport and @Fox6Christy on Twitter.

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