Gulf Times, Qatar
May 8 2006


French expertise, equipment sought over Armenian crash
Published: Monday, 8 May, 2006, 10:01 AM Doha Time

MOSCOW: Russia will ask France for help in retrieving the black box
flight recorders of an Armenian aircraft that crashed in the Black
Sea earlier this month, a Russian minister said yesterday.
`The aeronautical safety committee of the (12-nation) Commonwealth of
Independent States will approach French specialists,' said Russian
Transport Minister Igor Levitin.
All the passengers and crew aboard died when an Airbus A320 operated
by the Armenian airline Armavia plunged into the sea on Wednesday as
it tried to land at Sochi in bad weather on a flight from the
Armenian capital Yerevan.
`We have looked at the French experience at Sharm el-Sheikh,' Levitin
told reporters after a meeting with Emergency Situations Minister
Sergei Shoigu.
In January 2004 after a Flash Airlines Boeing crashed off the
Egyptian resort, a Scorpio robot sent by France recovered the two
black boxes from a depth of more 1,000m.
`French colleagues have told us what equipment they used and French
companies have said they are ready to help us,' Levitin said.
`We can suggest to France that it take part with us in the search
operation and the task of bringing to the surface aircraft parts and
bodies' which have not been recovered, he said.
The plane probably either came down when heavy rain forced a loss of
speed, or was actually struck by lightning, according an aviation
specialist. Parts have been located at a depth of 680m.
The bodies of 32 of the dead passengers have been taken to Yerevan,
Armenian Civil Aviation confirmed.
Rescuers have so far only found 51 bodies and seven of these have not
yet been identified, Sergei Aristov, Russia's deputy transport
minister, said. - AFP