An American-built remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has finally retrieved the black box of an Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009, killing all 228 people aboard.
The Remora 6000, built by Maryland-based Phoenix International, fished out the data recorder of Flight 447, an Airbus A330 that went down June 1, 2009 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. It may have flown through thunderstorms but investigators still don't know why it crashed.
Wreckage from the aircraft was first spotted in early April, and the plane was found at a depth of about 3,900 meters (12,800 feet).
Photos of the orange recorder produced by Honeywell International suggest the device is intact, but it's unclear whether data can be retrieved from it after such a long period on the seabed.
The 2,000-pound Remora was launched from the cable-laying ship Ile de Sein, operated by Alcatel-Lucent and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs of France.
The 5-foot-long, 25-horsepower ROV can operate to a depth of 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) and has two Hydro-Lek six-function manipulators to grapple objects; two cameras; and powerful lights to illuminate the depths. Its sensors include a laser gyro and scanning sonar.
The Remora has been used in the investigations of Yemenia Flight IY626, Adam Air Flight 574 and Tuninter Airline Flight 1153. It has also retrieved parts of an Israeli submarine, a Japanese rocket, and a U.S. Navy F14B Tomcat.