Atlas Air F crash: 2nd body recovered, black boxes still missing

The search party has recovered second body from the crashed Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo aircraft, which downed on February 23, 2019. Additionally, the United States authorities are looking for missing Boeing 767-300 freighter flight recorders, also known as black boxes, deemed “critical” for the investigation.

A second body was recovered on February 24, 2019, according to the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. The search party composed of the Baytown police, Houston police and Texas Department of Public Safety are still actively trying to recover the body of the third victim.

The search effort is complicated by the fact, that boxes are believed to buried so deep into a mud, that the effectiveness of their pingers is “reduced”.  “It is a painstaking process, but is a priority for NTSB”, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert L. Sumwalt told reporters on February 24, 2019.

Sumwalt also stated that to find the missing boxes, the authorities are considering measures involving scuba divers, walking through the debris field or dredge.

The records are crucial now to answer the question of what made the 767-300 freighter to go into a steep nosedive so quickly and how much time did the pilots actually have to take action.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have provided the following chain of events:

  • 12:30 (local time) pilots contact Houston approach control. The aircraft is flying at 18,000 feet and 73 nm southeast of the airport.

  • 12:36 the aircraft is cleared to descend to 3,000 ft.

  • 12:39 Communications and radio contact is lost. The aircraft is approximately at 6,000 ft, speed of 240 knots.  

“I saw no evidence of aircraft trying to turn or pull up at the last minute,” Sumwalt replied to question on how much time pilots had to correct the situation as the plane went to a nosedive from approximately  6,000 ft.

Flight 3591 was a cargo flight operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Amazon. It was en route from Miami to Houston, when it downed near the city of Anahuac Texas, in the Trinity Bay. Three people on board the aircraft

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