3 WEEKS TO FIND BLACK BOXES AT BLACK SEA CRASH SITE

RIA Novosti, Russia
May 11 2006

SOCHI, May 11 (RIA Novosti) - Recovery teams have about three weeks to
locate and retrieve the flight data recorders of an Armenian airliner
that crashed last week killing 113 people, a Russian transportation
official said Thursday.

The black boxes are seen as the key to understanding why the Airbus
plunged into the Black Sea in stormy weather six kilometers (3.7 miles)
from the Russian coast early on the morning of May 3.

"We have a time limit, about 30 days from the moment of the crash,"
said Alexander Davydenko, who is coordinating the operation to locate
the black boxes.

He added that batteries of the black boxes, which are thought to be
a depth of 400-450 meters (1,300- 1,470 feet), would run down in 30
days. Earlier wreckage had been reported at 680 meters (2,230ft).

Vladimir Yerygin, who oversees technological support for the
operation to recover the recorders, said earlier that specialists from
Toulouse-based Airbus were planning to use advanced hydroacoustic
equipment to find the precise location of the black boxes and later
recover them using a deep-sea vehicle.

He said the main group of French experts, which left the port of Sochi
Wednesday morning, would set up a data-processing center on board one
ship, and another ship with the Kalmar deep-sea craft would continue
scanning the seabed for parts of the A-320.