Data Recorders Recovered From 727 Crash

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On Saturday, both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were recovered from the 727 that crashed into a building and then plunged into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after takeoff on Thursday from the tiny West African country of Benin. The airliner, operated by the Lebanese-owned Union des Transports Africains (UTA), was carrying 151 passengers and 10 crew bound for Beirut. Twenty-two people, including at least one of the pilots, survived. Early reports suggested that the airplane may have been overloaded, and it seemed to be unable to retract its landing gear. Passengers included many Lebanese expatriates going home for the holidays, as well as people from Benin, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Also among the missing were 15 Bangladeshi army officers returning from UN peacekeeping duty in Sierra Leone and Liberia.