NTSB recovers flight data recorder from cargo plane crash near Houston

The National Transportation Safety Board recovered the flight data recorder Sunday from a Boeing 767 cargo plane that crashed into shallow water in Texas last week, leaving three people dead.

The plane was traveling from Miami to Houston when it crashed about 40 miles southeast of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It crashed in Trinity Bay near Anahuac, in water that is 5 feet deep. Two of the three bodies have been recovered and identified as First Officer Conrad Aska, 44, who was the co-pilot, and Sean Archuleta, 36, the jump-seat rider. Officials are still searching for the pilot of the plane.

The flight data recorder (FDR) will be taken to Washington for evaluation, the NTSB said in a tweet Sunday.

With the FDR now found, the NTSB can use the data to “generate a computer animated video reconstruction of the flight,” according to the board’s website. The animation will help investigators visualize the last moments of the flight before it crashed.

NTSB investigators found the cockpit voice recorder Friday, according to CNN affiliate KTRK.

Several bystanders saw the plane go down

About six people saw the plane go into the water. Some said it sounded like the engines were surging, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said.

“There’s no doubt he was having some kind of problem with the airplane, according to the eyewitnesses,” he said. “Then it turned and went into a nosedive.”

The 767 was in a normal descent as it approached the airport, then went into a “very, very rapid descent” at 6,300 feet, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The plane was operated by Atlas Air Inc. on behalf of Amazon, the operator said in a statement.

Hawthorne said the plane was completely destroyed in the crash.

“Knowing what I saw, I don’t think anyone could survive it,” he said.

The plane crashed in Jack’s Pocket at the north end of Trinity Bay, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.

According to the FAA website, the plane was built in 1992 and the flight number was 3591.

By Amir Vera, CNN

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