September 15, 2001 12:41 PM

Late Friday, searchers recovered the cockpit voice recorder for United Airlines Flight 93 out of Newark, N.J., which crashed in a field 80 miles from Pittsburgh during Tuesday’s reign of terror. The condition of the black box was not immediately known. It will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Board for analysis. The black box records both cockpit conversations and other flight information, chiefly about the plane’s instruments. It is also possible that the box could help explain why Flight 93 was the only one of the four planes hijacked on Tuesday that was not guided into a symbolic American landmark. There have also been reports, gathered from relatives who received cell phone calls from the hijacked plane, that passengers were attempting to fight back and thwart the terrorists. Meanwhile, the cockpit voice recorder from another of the hijacked planes, American Airlines Flight 77 — which hit the Pentagon Tuesday morning — may have been damaged, a justice official told Reuters on Friday. Investigators have been hoping the device would offer some clues into exactly what occurred on the plane, including whether or not the hijackers’ intended target was, in fact, the White House, as has been reported.

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