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Updated: May 25, 2010 01:50 IST

Black box of IX-812 yet to be recovered

Mangalore Bureau
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Members of a special investigation team from the U.S. inspect the debris of the crashed Air India flight in Mangalore on Monday.
Members of a special investigation team from the U.S. inspect the debris of the crashed Air India flight in Mangalore on Monday.

Serbian pilot Zlatko Glusica’s coffin begins journey to his homeland

Efforts to trace the Digital Flight Data Recorder or the black box of the Boeing 737-800 that crashed here on Saturday, killing 158 of the 166 on board, remained inconclusive on Monday.

The search that began on Sunday, continued through Monday. Parts of the plane that had got buried under loose earth at the crash site were removed using an excavator and examined by officials, but their efforts were unsuccessful. A tired team from the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) emerged out of the site by 5 p.m. and left in waiting vehicles without talking to journalists.

One DGCA official, who declined to give his name, told The Hindu that the search would resume on Tuesday morning and continue till the device was found. He said the black box was most certainly lying buried somewhere in the debris. An Air India official, who had come to help the DGCA investigators, said it was a matter time before the black box was recovered.

On Monday morning, the coffin bearing the body of the Serbian pilot Zlatko Glusica, the only non-Indian on the ill-fated Air India Express flight IX-812, began the journey to his homeland. AI officials Aprajit Saxena and Anil Agrawal accompanied the coffin to Delhi on Flight IC 761, along with Captain Alexander Vasiljevic, a pilot with the airline.

Captain Vasiljevic will accompany the body till it is handed over to Glusica’s family in Belgrade on Tuesday, according to AI Assistant General Manager (Technical and Training) A.K. Varma.

Meanwhile, flight IC 935 to Hyderabad left with 80 body samples of victims and close relatives for DNA testing. Twenty-two bodies, which were not identified or had multiple claimants, have been sent to mortuaries in different hospitals where they will remain till the DNA test results are received. The process could take 10 to 15 days.

More families bade tearful adieu to their loved ones on Monday. A few bodies were brought in coffins to a Church in Kulasekhara for rituals before being taken for burial.

Four-year-old Viola, who lost her parents, Naveen and Sarita Fernandes, in Saturday’s tragedyseemed to know very little about the turn of events. They had left Viola behind with her aunt in the city and were working in West Asia, according to a family member.

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