The second black box data recorder from last week's Germanwings plane crash has been found at the site of the Alps crash, French media reported, citing Agence France Presse.
The Marseille prosecutor in charge of the case, Brice Robin, declined to comment, but said he was was planning a news conference for later today.
The flight data recorder contains readings from hundreds of parameters of the Airbus A320 plane, including any pilot commands.
If intact, the data is expected to provide crucial further evidence of the final moments of the flight, in which the co-pilot is suspected of deliberately crashing the plane into the French Alps.
France’s BEA air crash investigation authority, which is expected to decode the information on the data recorder and to match it with information from cockpit voice recordings and ground radar, was not immediately available for comment.
There is a “reasonable hope” that the data can be recovered intact despite the box being damaged in the crash, Mr Robin said.
Mr Robin said that 470 personal items have also been found. This included 42 mobile phones, but the prosecutor said they were unlikely to yield any useful information.
“These telephones are in a very, very damaged condition, which will certainly make extracting information from them very, very difficult,” he said.
After a nine-day hunt, the second data recorder was found by a French gendarme in a ravine, buried in a place that had been searched several times already. It had caught fire and was blackened and damaged.
Germanwings parent company Lufthansa said it welcomed the discovery of the second box and hoped it would yield results.
Mr Robin also told reporters that at each matching of a DNA set to a victim, families will be informed immediately.
Meanwhile, German prosecutors revealed that the co-pilot of the plane in the Alps crash, Andreas Lubitz, appears to have researched methods into how to take his life and cockpit door security before crashing a Germanwings plane into the French Alps.
Dusseldorf prosecutors said that investigators found a tablet computer at Andreas Lubitz’s apartment. They said they were able to reconstruct searches from March 16th to March 23rd.
Investigators believe the 27-year-old co-pilot locked his captain out of the A320’s cockpit on March 24th and deliberately crashed the plane.
Spokesman for the prosecutors Ralf Herrenbrueck said that search terms included medical treatments and methods of taking his own life.
Mr Lubitz looked at search terms involving cockpit doors and their security methods.
Reuters and PA