The Air Force has found the flight voice and data recorder commonly known as the black box from the deadly CV-22B Osprey crash off the coast of Japan in November, the service revealed Wednesday.
The piece of equipment is a major find for the Air Force, as it could give investigators a view into what caused the accident that killed all eight airmen aboard.
The black box “will be transported to laboratories for data retrieval” and follow-on analysis of that data, a process officials expect to take several weeks, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) spokeswoman Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse said in a statement to The Hill.
The Air Force has recovered the remains of seven of the eight airmen killed on Nov. 29 off the coast of Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan during a routine training flight to Okinawa.
Search efforts are still underway for the lone missing service member, Maj. Eric Spendlove.
AFSOC said a preliminary review of the accident indicates a “potential matériel failure,” meaning a mechanical flaw with the aircraft likely caused the crash, but the cause is still unknown, and the investigation is ongoing.
Heyse noted that the vast majority of the aircraft has since been recovered by the salvage ship USNS Salvor, and has been transported to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni “where it will be inspected as part of the ongoing investigations.”
The military’s entire Osprey fleet has also been grounded since Dec. 6, pending an investigation into the safety of the aircraft, with no updates on the grounding as of Wednesday.
The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, meanwhile, in late December launched an investigation into the Osprey program, which has experienced four deadly crashes in the last two years alone.