By Mohamed Osman
Khartoum - A team of experts have recovered the black box recorder from the ghastly scene of charred corpses at the Port Sudan site where a Boeing 737 crashed with the loss of 116 lives.
The only survivor was a three-year-old boy. Initial reports on the disaster on Tuesday cited a technical fault.
Boeing had provided technical information about the jet to investigators but had not yet been invited by either the Sudanese airline or the United States National Transportation Safety Board to the crash site, said Liz Verdier, speaking for the company.
Earlier, the Sudanese foreign minister, in Maputo for the African Union summit, claimed that US sanctions - which had prevented access to new aircraft parts - were directly responsible for the crash.
However, in Washington, US State Department deputy spokesperson Philip Reeker denied there was a ban on equipment needed for aviation safety.
Tuesday's Boeing wreckage was badly burnt, and authorities decided to rapidly bury all bodies, including eight foreigners, after performing the Muslim prayers.
According to the Red Sea State governor, Hatem el-Wassila, the sole survivor, Mohammed el-Fateh Osman, three, had lost his right leg and suffered burns.
The boy was in intensive care at the Port Sudan hospital, reportedly in a stable condition.
Eleven crew members and 105 passengers died, including three Indian nationals, a Briton and a Chinese, an Ethiopian, a United Arab Emirates citizen and a woman whose nationality was unknown.
Also killed was a senior air force official and a member of parliament.
The accident occurred about 10 minutes after take-off. The pilot had radioed the control tower to alert it to a problem in one of his engines, and said he was returning for an emergency landing. The plane went down a few kilometres outside the airport.
A local journalist described the scene after the crash. "Bodies were scattered everywhere, burnt and charred, and could be seen all over the place," Muhammad Osman Babikir said. "There was no way of performing the Muslim ritual of washing the bodies. It was horrible."
The US imposed sanctions against Sudan in 1997, claiming human rights abuses and support for terrorism, and Sudan says this led to the shortage of vital aircraft parts and the crash of the Boeing.
"This is a sad incident, Foreign Minister Moustapha Osman Ismail said from Maputo. "We simply cannot get the parts to maintain our airplanes or rehabilitate them after five years.
"We are not even allowed to bring certain parts in through a third party."
Ismail called on President George Bush to drop the sanctions.
Sudan has suffered few passenger-plane accidents in recent years, but several crashes of military aircraft during a 20-year-old civil war.
Two years ago, a military-plane crash in the war-torn south killed the country's deputy defence minister and 13 other high-ranking officers.
In 1996, a Sudanese passenger jet crashed during a sandstorm while trying to make an emergency landing outside Khartoum, killing 50 people.A decade before that, rebels shot down a Sudan Airways aircraft, killing all 70 people on board. - Sapa-AP