Investigators retrieve flight recorders from crashed A300F

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Mexican investigators have secured the flight recorders from the Aerotransportes de Carga Union Airbus A300B4 freighter which crashed on approach to Monterrey's Escobedo International Airport.

The AeroUnion aircraft came down during poor weather at night on 13 April, following a service designated flight 302 from Mexico City.

Mexico's transportation ministry states that the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders have been secured, adding: "This information will be crucial for determining the probable cause of this accident."

Both the ministry and Airbus confirm the airframe as serial number 78, a General Electric CF6-powered aircraft registered XA-TUE.

The 31-year old twin-jet, among the earliest Airbus models, had originally been delivered to Air France as a passenger aircraft in May 1979.

It was converted to a freighter in 1998 and operated by carriers including Canada's ICC Air Cargo before being transferred to Mexico City-based AeroUnion in 2002.

Airbus states that the aircraft had carried out 27,600 cycles and accumulated 55,200 flight hours.

The transportation ministry states that the jet was airworthy. It confirms that the aircraft came down between the airport perimeter fence and an access road, and was destroyed by impact and fire.

Monterrey Escobedo Airport is connected at its northern end to the main Miguel Aleman highway by an access road which runs parallel to, and west of, the main runway 11/29. It is unclear whether the aircraft was attempting to land or aborting its approach at the time of the crash.

While the ministry puts the time of the accident at 23:19, Airbus says it occurred shortly after 23:30.

Airbus is sending a team to Mexico to support the inquiry, and the airframer adds that France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses will also be involved.