Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
May 15 2006

Russian authorities plan to use a robotic device to try to recover
the flight data recorders from an Armenian passenger jet that crashed
in the Black Sea earlier this month, killing all 113 people on board,
the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Sunday.

The device, which includes a video monitor and a hydraulic apparatus
that will be used to try to lift the recorders from a depth of nearly
500 meters (1,640 feet), was being loaded onto a ship in the port of
Novorossiisk, ITAR-Tass said.

It cited the head of the state commission investigating the May 3
crash, Transport Minister Igor Levitin, as saying an operation to
recover the "black boxes" would begin Tuesday.

Authorities hope the recorders will help them pinpoint the cause of
the crash. The Armavia Airbus A-320 plunged into the sea in heavy
rain and poor visibility as it approached the airport in Adler,
near the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

The PT-1000 device has been used by geologists to lift natural objects
weighing up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds) from the sea floor, the report
said. It has not been used to lift man-made objects.

(ITAR-Tass-Photolur photo: fragments of the crashed plane recovered
from the Black Sea.)