Long-Lost Black Box of Eastern Airlines Flight 980 Headed to NTSB Lab in Washington


The National Transportation Safety Board has retrieved the remains of a long-lost black box belonging to 1985’s ill-fated Eastern Airlines Flight 980.

Shortly after 10 a.m. today, at a small airport in Norwood, Mass., NTSB investigator Bill English met with Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner to pick up pieces of evidence to one of the biggest aviation mysteries of the 20th century.

Several pieces of mangled orange metal and a spool of magnetic tape are on the way to the NTSB’s laboratory in Washington, D.C.

In May 2016, two Bostonians, Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner, climbed Bolivia’s Mt. Illimani and, at an elevation of 16,000 feet, recovered what appears to be the flight recorders from the U.S. airliner, a task many experts and investigators thought was impossible.

Flight 980 crashed on Jan. 1, 1985, on its approach to the airport outside La Paz, Bolivia. El Alto, as the airport is commonly called, is the highest international airport in the world with a runway perched at over 13,000 feet. There were 29 people on board the Boeing 727, including eight Americans. No one survived, and multiple international efforts to recover the flight recorders ended fruitlessly because of the inaccessibility of the crash site, the NTSB previously said.



Interesting. Hope they can get the information to solve the mystery of the crash.


Magnetic tape that old…it will be a real stretch to get anything but static. I wish them luck though!


Maybe not; the box is supposed to be shielded, IMS



No matter, magnetic tape loses its integrity over time, have you tried playing any old cassettes lately? For their sake I hope you are right!


The medium is unstable to electromagnetic energy; in a shielded case and at low temperature, it has a greater chance (though probably not great) of still being decipherable.



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