Cork, Ireland — Investigators plan to raise the wreckage of an Air India jumbo jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June off the Irish coast, killing all 329 people on board.

The wreckage, scattered over an area 4% miles long and 1% miles wide, could provide clues to the cause of the disaster, Henry Boycko, a spokesman for the Canadian Safety Board, said Thursday.

Boycko said film taken by submersible robots showed about 80 percent of the wreckage including the cockpit and a number of bodies lying on the ocean floor.

Canadian, Indian and American officials are formulating plans to raise the vital pieces of the wreck by mid-November, before “bad weather sets in,” he said.

The project is believed to be one of the deepest ocean salvage operations ever contemplated. The wreckage is lying on the ocean floor beneath a mile of water. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Pictures of the wreckage indicated the plane, which was flying from Canada to London en route to Bombay, apparently broke apart before hitting the water June 23 off the southwest coast of Ireland, Boycko said.

“There is a scattered pattern and it all indicates that (the plane) was not in one piece when it hit the water,” Boycko said. “We think it broke up prior to impact with the water.”

But Boycko said: “It is far too premature to say if there had been an explosion.” He said salvage operations could begin within a matter of days.

The jet’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders already have been retrieved from the ocean floor, but they have given no clue to the cause of the crash.

Bodies of 131 of the 329 victims and a small amount of wreckage was found floating on the surface of the sea during the week after the crash.

Article extracted from this publication >>  September 27, 1985