Air France Investigation Enters Next Phase

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Multiple submarines remain in the search for sunken debris, but they will no longer be actively "listening" for emergency signals from the recorders aboard Air France Flight 447. It's been more than 40 days since the Airbus A330-220, with 228 aboard, crashed in the Atlantic ocean while en route out of Rio de Janeiro for Paris -- the aircraft's flight data and cockpit voice recorders are designed to emit signal for 30 days. "All is not lost," Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, director of Air France-KLM told the Le Figaro last week. Brazil's military last month called off the search for floating debris and bodies having recovered 51 bodies (including that of one of the flight's pilots), some 640 pieces of aircraft wreckage and not a single inflated life vest. Examination of wreckage has led investigators to believe the aircraft broke up after striking the water in a fairly flat attitude at high speed and on track with its route.

With investigators citing the aircraft's own automated reports of inconsistent air data, an Air France pilots' union Wednesday accused safety authorities of failing to prevent the crash. The unions published a letter Wednesday stating that agencies had failed to act on information that certain pitot tubes fitted to certain Airbus aircraft were known to have faults.