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Investigators Find Part of Air-India Nose But Crash Cause Unknown

September 7, 1985

CORK, Ireland (AP) _ An underwater robot has found part of the nose section of the Air-India jetliner that crashed off Ireland in June, but an investigator said Friday it was too early to say what caused the disaster.

Canadian expert Terry Boyko, who has been assisting Indian investigators, said part of the nose showed up for the first time in photographs taken by the Scarab II robot about 10 days ago.

Boyko said investigators studying pictures taken by Scarab II had come to no conclusion yet on where or how the plane broke apart.

He dismissed a report in London’s Daily Mail which said the nose was found more than 200 yards from the main debris, strengthening the theory that a bomb exploded the plane. The paper said the nose section broke away just behind the plane’s forward door, indicating a blast in the forward luggage hold a few feet away.

″It (the nose) was found in the general location of other parts of the aircraft ...,″ Boyko said in a telephone interview. ″It would be premature to make any comment with respect to cause. We don’t know what caused the crash yet.″

″We’ve been studying the film and we’re not sure what happened,″ he said.

The Boeing 747, bound from Toronto and Montreal to Bombay, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 120 miles off the southwest Irish coast on June 23 without a mayday call. All 329 people aboard died.

Boyko said Scarab II, which is being operated from the Canadian Coast Guard vessel John Cabot at depths of 6,700 feet, was still mapping the wreckage area.

Until mapping is completed ″and we bring some pieces up, we cannot make any comment related to cause,″ he said.

″Right now, we don’t have one item or group or group of items that we think has to be raised,″ Bokyo said.

The John Cabot, in Cork for four days, returned to the crash site Friday.

The Indian government is in charge of the inquiry. Initially, Indian officials believed a bomb was probably to blame. But analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders retrieved earlier could not establish cause.

Update hourly