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French Board Objects To Publication Of Cockpit Conversations

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The French aviation accident investigation board, the BEA, on Thursday condemned an author's disclosure of cockpit conversations among the pilots who died in the Rio-to-Paris Airbus flight that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009. A book by Jean-Pierre Otelli, Erreurs de pilotage, Tome 5 (Pilot Errors, Volume 5), includes literal transcriptions from the cockpit voice recorder that had not been published in the official reports, which included only excerpts. "This transcription mentions personal conversations between the crew members that have no bearing on the event, which shows a lack of respect for the memory of the late crew members," the BEA said in a statement (PDF). According to Bloomberg News, Otelli's book reveals "confusion, a lack of coordination, and denial among the flight crew as the jet plunged through the night sky toward the ocean surface."

The BEA said its investigation is not yet complete, and "any attempt at interpretation at this stage is partial and, as a result, can only fan the flames of the controversies of the last few months, which is harmful to all concerned only an in-depth analysis of the facts will enable all the causes of the accident to be determined." The board said its final report will be published by next June. According to the Daily Mail, the full transcripts in Otelli's book show that the pilots were confused and the senior captain failed to take control of the situation after being recalled to the cockpit in the final moments of the flight.

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