Brazil jet crash probe finds errant cockpit voice recorder

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of the crashed Cessna 560 XLS+ in Brazil on 13 August has been found, but does not contain any recordings from its last flight, the Brazilian air force’s crash investigation center (CENIPA) says.

The crash killed Brazilian presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, who was aboard the aircraft as it attempted to land in Santos in poor weather.

It was not clear when exactly the last recordings found on the CVR were made. According to CENIPA, “the data on the CVR is just one of the elements that will be taken into consideration during the investigation, not being essential to the investigation of the contributing factors to the crash”.

Brazil’s air authority ANAC requires CVR-equipped aircraft to have the system operational before being allowed to fly. Local reports suggest the crashed Cessna was not equipped with an additional flight data recorder.

The pilots aborted the first landing attempt and made a turn to the left to circle and attempted to land a second time. The pilot’s tone of voice seemed calm when he spoke to air traffic control about performing the go-around manoeuvre. According to bystanders, briefly after completing the turn at 120m the plane entered into a 45° dive into the terrain with its wings reaching a 60° lateral bank in the process.

The crash happened in a residential part of downtown Santos creating a crater 3m (9.84ft) deep and 7m diameter in the central patio surrounded by low buildings and houses.

CENIPA chief, Maj Gen Dilton Schuck has declared that “there are accidents that from the very start one is able to determine immediately its possible root causes. This is not the case here. This accident is a very complex accident that reverts into a mystery.”

A ten-member team is working in the analysis of the debris and a dedicated commission will be set up with 6-10 members to conduct the full crash investigation.