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‘Lord, you have my soul’: Transcript of audio from Atlas Air plane that crashed into Trinity Bay released

An airplane is seen in this image moments before it crashed into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, on Feb. 23, 2019.
An airplane is seen in this image moments before it crashed into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, on Feb. 23, 2019. (Anahuac ISD)

HOUSTON – A transcript of audio that was recorded aboard a cargo plane that crashed into Trinity Bay earlier this year revealed the crew’s panicked moments just before the fatal descent.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a transcript of the cockpit voice recorder from Atlas Air Flight 3591, which crashed in the waters off Anahuac on Feb. 23 while bound for George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Capt. Ricky Blakely, First Officer Conrad Aska and Capt. Sean Archuleta, who was riding in the jump seat, were killed in the crash.

The transcript is part of a 3,000-page report released Wednesday by the NTSB.

The transcript

The 54-page report about the cockpit voice recorder included a transcript of a little less than an hour of the recording. The bulk of the transcript indicated a routine flight. The trouble seemed to occur within the last 30 seconds of the transcript.

At 12:38 p.m., controllers at Bush relay a course change that will be necessary in about 18 miles. Several clicks are heard before an acknowledgement from the plane’s crew. Controllers indicate some severe weather in the area and that the plane shouldn’t have a problem getting to the airport after the change.

A mechanical click is heard and then Aska said, “Whoa.”

“(Where’s) my speed, my speed?”Aska asked. That was followed by the sound of a louder mechanical click and thumping noises. “We’re stalling. Stall! … Oh, Lord. Have mercy. Lord, have mercy! Captain.”

“What’s going on?” Blakely asked.

“Lord,” Aska replied. That was followed by a series of beeps.

“What’s going on?” Archuleta asked. That was followed by the sound of rapid breathing and more beeps. “Pull up!”

“Oh, God,” Aska said. “Lord, you have my soul!”

The cause

In March, investigators said a preliminary review of the plane’s black box indicated a loss of control of the aircraft, which was hauling cargo for Amazon, just before the crash.

The report issued Wednesday does not include a cause for the crash, which NTSB officials said is still under investigation.


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