Black Boxes, Tail Of Reservists’ Plane Located Mile Underwater
A Navy ship has located the black boxes from an Air Force Reserve HC-130P plane that went down off the Northern California coast last month, killing 10 crew members.
The tail of the plane was located and videotaped Saturday by a remote-controlled unmanned submarine called the Scorpio, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jack Papp said Sunday from his home in San Diego, Calif.
Sonar aboard the parent ship, the Laney Chouest, had located the debris field Friday at a depth of 5,100 feet, nearly a mile below the ocean surface, Papp said. A mile is 5,280 feet.
The Scorpio’s sensors picked up pinging from the boxes containing the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, Papp said.
He said any questions about whether the Scorpio’s videocamera located any bodies would have to be answered by the Air Force.
The Laney Chouest was headed to Eureka, Calif., Sunday night to share the data with the Air Force, which will make any decisions regarding what is recovered from the ocean floor, Papp said.
Air Force Capt. Keri Humphrey-Clinard said the videotape would be reviewed by an Air Force safety board specifically convened in Portland to investigate the crash.
She did not know whether bodies were spotted, and said any word on that would have to wait until the safety board reviews the tapes.
The Navy began its search for the wreckage earlier this month.
Bad weather interrupted the search for several days, but it resumed Thursday.
The crew aboard the HC-130P Hercules had reported a faulty engine and electronic failure just before the crash Nov. 22 about 40 miles off Cape Mendocino. Only one crewman survived. Two bodies were later recovered.
All 11 crewmen were members of the 304th Rescue Squadron in Portland. The plane was involved in a training exercise at the time of the crash.
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