LE BOURGET, France - France's chief air accident investigator said Thursday he's hopeful that data contained on the two flight recorders of an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic almost two years ago can be recovered.
Jean-Paul Troadec, head of France's BEA, told reporters that the so-called black boxes "appear to be in good shape."
"I'm fairly confident" they can be used, he said in response to a question.
The man in charge of the BEA's engineering department, Christophe Menez, said it would take at least three days to learn with certainty whether information contained on the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder can be recovered to help unlock the cause of the crash.
Other parts of the plane discovered in the ocean's depths some not yet brought to France can also contribute to learning why Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris plunged into the Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people aboard.
Deciphering all the information can take weeks or months, said Alain Bouillard, director of the investigation.
"This process isn't counted in days. It is counted in weeks or months," he said.
The data recorders arrived under high security at BEA headquarters outside Paris on Thursday.
Dozens of police stood by as two white packaging boxes were removed from a van. The recorders had traveled in a French Navy boat from the crash site to French Guiana, where they were put on a plane.
The seven memory cards in each data recorder will be extracted, cleaned, dried and tested to see if they still work. If so data will be copied onto BEA's computers.
"If the card is in good shape it can be read in a couple hours," Menez said. If damaged, it is impossible to say how long it might take to try to cull information from it, he added.
The officials said BEA will provide an update on Monday.