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Search for black boxes
NTSB investigators, along with representatives from Boeing and Texas Game Warden, search Trinity Bay for recorders from the cargo jet crash in Texas, using pinger locator equipment. (NTSB Photo)

The National Transportation Safety Board says it has recovered the cockpit voice recorder from the muddy Texas bay where an Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed last weekend.

Three crew members were killed in the Feb. 23 crash into Trinity Bay, near Anahuac, Texas. The plane was part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, and was nearly at the end of a scheduled Miami-to-Houston flight when it nose-dived into the bay’s shallow waters.

Investigators have been searching for the cockpit voice recorder as well as the plane’s other “black box,” the flight data recorder. Two bodies have been found amid the widely scattered wreckage, along with partial human remains that may be associated with the third fatality.

The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, identified the three as Capt. Ricky Blakeley, First Officer Conrad Jules Aska and an aviator from Mesa Airlines, pilot Sean Archuleta.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and friends of the three crew members involved,” Atlas Air Capt. Daniel Wells, Local 1224’s president, said in a statement. “At this time we’re focused on doing everything we can to support them and to provide counseling to any pilots and their family members who are feeling the pain of this tremendous loss.”

Pilots have established two GoFundMe pages to benefit the families of Blakeley and Aska as well as Archuleta’s family.

In a tweet sent out today, the NTSB said the cockpit voice recorder is being transported to the safety board’s labs in Washington, D.C., and will be evaluated when it arrives.

New York-based Atlas Air operates 20 Boeing 767 cargo jets as part of an Amazon-branded transport operation. Another 20 planes are operated for Amazon by Air Transport Services Group. Last weekend’s crash of Atlas Air Flight 3591 was the first fatal air accident connected with Amazon Air.

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