Engine trouble focus of jet crash inquiry

From the Associated Press

Investigators focused Monday on the possibility that a Kenya Airways jetliner lost power in both engines just after takeoff and was trying to glide back to the airport when it plunged into a mangrove swamp 12 miles from the runway.

All 114 people on board were killed in Saturday's crash, officials in this West African nation said after picking their way along a muddy path to the site strewn with pieces of metal, bodies and shoes.

A coast guard officer, Capt. Francis Ekosso, said late Monday that one of the two flight recorders had been found, a development that could help investigators determine what happened to Flight 507. He did not know the device's condition or whether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.

After being delayed an hour by storms, the Kenya-bound Boeing 737-800 sent a distress signal shortly after takeoff from Douala and lost contact 11 to 13 minutes later.

It took searchers more than 40 hours to find the wreckage, most of it submerged in water and concealed by trees.

Thomas Sobakam, chief of meteorology for the Douala airport, said the jet disintegrated on impact.

Officials said it was too early to tell what caused the crash, but investigators focused on the stormy weather as a possible contributor. Experts were considering a theory that the engines burned out because of the weather, said an official close to the airline's investigation in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

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