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NTSB: Pilots lost control of Amazon cargo plane 18 seconds before crash

By Danielle Haynes
NTSB: Pilots lost control of Amazon cargo plane 18 seconds before crash
Memory boards from the cockpit voice recorder of Atlas Air Flight 3591 are inspected for signs of damage and water intrusion by an NTSB engineer at the NTSB laboratory in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. File Photo courtesy of the NTSB

March 5 (UPI) -- A preliminary analysis of the voice recorder data from a cargo plane that crashed last month indicates the pilots lost control of the Boeing 767 18 seconds before going down in marshland near Houston, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

The aircraft crashed Feb. 23 into the marshland of Trinity Bay about 40 miles from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, killing all three people on board.

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Investigators recovered the cockpit voice recorder Friday and have been reviewing the audio recordings, which the NTSB described as "poor."

"There are times during the recording when the content of crew discussion is difficult to determine, at other times the content can be determined using advanced audio filtering," the NTSB said in a report.

The agency said the data indicated crew members communicated with air traffic control in Houston to prepare for landing. Those communications indicated the loss of control lasted for about 18 seconds before the end of the recording.

On Sunday, investigators recovered the flight data recorder, which they disassembled, cleaned and dried before downloading the data. The recorder had 54 hours of data, including about 350 parameters detailing the motion of the airplane and the operations of its systems.

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Atlas Air Flight 3591 was operating for Amazon Prime Air on a flight from Miami to Houston.

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