Search Continues For Victims & Clues

U.S. air crash investigators told CBS News today they do not know if the unexplained and total electrical system failure that cut off the flight data recorder for the final six minutes of Swissair flight 111 is unprecedented.

However, it is clear that the recorders are not equipped with backup batteries. CBS News Correspondent Jeffrey Kofman, in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, reports that bad weather today hampered recovery of the crucial cockpit voice recorder from the cold waters of the Canadian Atlantic.

Divers had hoped to retrieve that second black box from the ocean floor today after they located it yesterday but thick fog and stormy seas forced searchers to postpone plans at least until tomorrow.

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The contents of the flight data recorder that was retrieved Sunday continue to be analyzed. While an electric failure on Flight 111 caused six minutes of the flight to be missing, investigators are finding signs that some of the aircraft's systems failed earlier in the flight.

Vic Gerden, of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, is optimistic about what investigators will find.

"There are numerous irregularities in the recorded data but these are yielding substantial clues as to the nature of the problems" Gerden says.

With attention now focusing on the plane's electrical system, questions are now being asked about the protective coating on the plane's wires.

Kapton, the coating product in question, was declared unsafe by the United States Navy and is no longer used on commercial aircraft. When Kapton wears down, wires can spark.

Former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Vernon Grose says that in the high temperature environment on an aircraft, the Kapton meltdown will "ignite anything in the area or vaporize it".

For the last six days geologists aboard the Canadian Coast Guard ship "Matthew" have been building a 3-D map of the rugged ocean floor at the crash site.

Gordon Fader, a Marine Geologist for the Canadian Government, is part of the team mapping the crash site.

"They have identified a number of targets on the sea-floor" Fader says. "The question is are those targets part of the plane or whether or not they are natural geological features."

While so much of the investigation has gone smoothly, the recovery of bodies has not. So far the coroner has identified only two bodies, and a grim collection of body parts. There is still hope that more bodies can be recovered from the ocean floor.

Reported By Jeffrey Kofman