BEIRUT – Lebanon's marine commandos on Sunday recovered the black box of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed into the Mediterranean last month, the Lebanese army said in a statement.
The Boeing 737 crashed Jan. 25 minutes after takeoff from Beirut during a fierce thunderstorm. All 90 people on board are believed to have died.
The Lebanese military also said that eight more bodies were recovered Sunday, raising the number of bodies retrieved since the crash to 23.
Passenger jets carry two black boxes — a data flight recorder and a cockpit voice recorder. They are commonly referred to as simply "the black box." The two are usually located in the rear of a plane, the area most likely to survive a crash intact.
Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi told the local Al-Jadeed television that the box recovered Sunday was the data flight recorder. He had earlier said that the black box was located at a depth of 150 feet off the coast just south of Beirut airport.
"Now, the search is continuing for the second box," he said, referring to the cockpit voice recorder.
Video footage obtained by The Associated Press showed the orange-colored box placed in a container.
Analyzing data stored in the black box is critical to determining the cause of the crash.
A senior Lebanese army officer said the black box was "carefully" pulled out and taken Sunday to a Lebanese naval base in Beirut. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly to the media.
The Lebanese army officer said the black box would later be handed over to a technical committee investigating the crash. It includes Lebanese, Ethiopian and French investigators.
Earlier in the day, the officer said search crews have located the cockpit of the jet but there were no bodies inside it. Work was continuing to bring the cockpit to the surface, he said.