Venezuelan authorities say search teams have retrieved several bodies from Thursday's plane crash in the Andes Mountains that left 46 people dead.

Search teams had to be dropped off at the crash site by helicopter because of the steep mountain terrain. The victims included Venezuelans, Colombians and an American citizen.

Investigators recovered the black boxes (flight data recorders) from the wreckage Saturday. The voice and data recorders could provide clues about why the plane crashed shortly after it departed the city of Merida on its way to Caracas.

Pilots need special training to fly from the Merida airport because the city is surrounded by mountains and planes must ascend sharply at takeoff.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.