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Japanese airport reopens as FedEx crash probe begins

INVESTIGATORS hauled away charred wreckage and planes began to land again on the main runway of Japan's largest international airport yesterday morning, where a day earlier a FedEx cargo flight crashed and exploded, killing its two pilots.

About 170 workers worked under giant construction lights on Monday night to remove the remnants of the MD-11 cargo plane, pieces of which were put on to large flatbed trucks and moved to a spot about 300 meters away for investigation.

The plane's black box data recorder and cockpit voice recorders have been recovered and the data seems to be usable, according to Transport Ministry spokesman Michinobu Osuka. Officials from the United States National Transportation Safety Board were expected in Tokyo yesterday afternoon to assist in the investigation.

A team from FedEx Corp has already arrived in Tokyo. William Margaritis, senior vice president of communications, told reporters: "We have a team of experts here to work closely with our folks here in Japan, and with the government authorities, to get all the necessary information about the incident, and we're going to spend as much time as necessary until we get to all the issues and the facts and the information that we need."

Narita airport's first fatal crash left a scorched, debris-strewn trail down the longer of its two landing strips, which remained closed for about 27 hours after the crash.

The American pilot and co-pilot were named as Kevin Mosley, 54, and Anthony Pino, 49.

The plane was arriving from Guangzhou, China, where last month FedEx opened a US$150 million operations hub for the Asia-Pacific region.


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