Black boxes yield Air France Airbus crash data

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Investigators have managed to extract data from the black boxes of an Air France jet which crashed in the Atlantic in 2009, raising the prospect of determining what caused the disaster, which killed all 228 people on board.

France's BEA air crash investigation agency said yesterday it had managed to transfer all the information stored in the devices hauled from the seabed two weeks ago, almost two years after the Airbus A330 vanished.

The data transfer is a breakthrough in efforts to find out what caused the crash.

BEA brought forward its target date for publishing a new report on the crash by about six months and said it may be able to issue interim findings in the summer.

Paul Hayes, the safety director at the UK-based consultancy Ascend Aviation, said: "The most interesting thing will be to find out what the crew were seeing and understanding and how they were reacting and managing their responses."

Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris vanished in an equatorial storm on 1 June, 2009, triggering an international hunt for the wreckage and black boxes that might contain clues.

The wreckage was found in water almost 4km deep and the flight recorders were recovered in early May after a search operation costing $50m.