The missing memory unit of the flight data recorder of the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 has been recovered, found yesterday by a submarine some 12,800 feet below the surface, reports AP. The discovery of the "black box"—a red cylinder partially buried in sand on the sea floor—raises hopes that investigators will now be able to determine the cause of the crash that killed 228 people. "We can't say in advance that we're going to be able to read it until it's been opened," said a spokeswoman for the BEA, France's air safety organization. The unit appears to be in good condition.
Flight 447 crashed almost two years ago after encountering a high-altitude thunderstorm, but the crash site was so remote and deep that three previous searches were unable to find the bulk of the wreckage some 3,900 miles off of Brazil's northeast coast. A second flight recorder containing the cockpit conversation is still missing, but submarines continue to search for it. Air France and Airbus have spent more than $40 million so far in the four search efforts in a bid to determine the cause of the worst crash in Air France's history.