WASHINGTON (Feb. 7, 2017) —National Transportation Safety Board investigators determined materials received Jan. 4, 2017, do not contain any data from Eastern Airlines Flight 980’s flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder and do not provide any additional information relevant to the investigation of the Jan. 1, 1985, crash.
Two U.S. citizens recovered the materials from the Flight 980 crash site on Mount Illimani, Bolivia, and contacted Bolivian authorities seeking to have the materials examined. The General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Bolivia (Unidad AIG) requested the NTSB receive and examine the materials. The materials were examined in the NTSB’s recorder laboratory at its headquarters. The NTSB assisted Unidad AIG under the protocols in the International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13.
(In this photo, taken Jan. 10, 2016, in the NTSB’s recorder laboratory, Washington, are the materials examined by the NTSB at the request of Bolivia’s Unidad AIG. The materials were recovered from the Eastern Airlines Flight 980 crash site. NTSB Photo)
The materials provided to the NTSB consisted of several metal fragments, one damaged spool of magnetic tape and two additional off-spool sections of magnetic tape.
Examination of the materials revealed no identifiable specific serial numbers. One metal piece was identified as a cockpit voice recorder rack. Other metal pieces were consistent with parts related to the flight data recorder pressurized container assembly.
The magnetic tape on the spool was ¾-inch U-Matic video tape and when reviewed was found to contain an 18-minute recording of the “Trial by Treehouse” episode of the television series “I Spy,” dubbed in Spanish.
The magnetic tape segments were not the ¼-inch width tape from a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder.
The NTSB has conveyed its findings to Unidad AIG.