Air France Wreckage Found
Underwater search teams have found pieces of an Air France Airbus 330 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the shore of Brazil in 2009, killing all 228 people aboard, French investigators have announced.
The Air France jetliner, designated as Flight 447 plunged into the ocean en route from Rio to Paris. The latest search found a section of the aircraft, including bodies, and raised hopes that the black boxes will be found to explain what happened.
Experts in the United States say that the crash may have some relevance to the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor streets on November 12, 2001. The aircraft, both in the Airbus A300 Series of aircraft, have virtually identical tail surfaces and rudder control systems.
Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that AA 587 crashed because the first officer, who was flying the departure from John F. Kennedy Airport, over controlled the rudder system, causing the tail to depart from the aircraft. The entire tail was found floating in Jamaica Bay shortly after the crash.
Parts of the wreckage of an Air France plane found in the Atlantic on the weekend contain the bodies of some of the passengers who died when the aircraft crashed off Brazil in 2009, the French government said on Monday.
France’s BEA accident investigation authority said on Sunday it had found a large part of the plane’s wreckage including the engine and parts of the fuselage, and Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said on Monday there were human remains inside.
“We have more than just traces, we have bodies ... Identification is possible,” she told France Info radio.
Transport Minister Thierry Mariani said victims’ families would be informed of the findings at a meeting at the end of the week and no further details would be made public before then.
“It’s true that bodies have been seen, but given the sensitive nature of the subject we prefer to keep certain details for the families,” he told France Info radio.
The discovery of the chunks of the Air France wreckage in a vast search radius of some 10,000 square kilometers, has raised hopes that the aircraft’s flight recorders, or black boxes, might now be found.
Finding the cause took on new importance last month when a French judge filed preliminary manslaughter charges against Air France and the plane’s manufacturer, Airbus. Experts say without the flight data and voice recorders, authorities will not likely determine what was at fault.
Air France and Airbus are financing the estimated $12.5 million cost of the new search. About $28 million has already been spent on the three previous searches for the jet’s wreckage.