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Two Bodies, Ticket Found Near Air France Crash Site - UPDATES

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Author Topic: Two Bodies, Ticket Found Near Air France Crash Site - UPDATES  (Read 125 times)
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« on: June 01, 2009, 06:09:47 am »

                                    Air France Rio-Paris flight missing with 228 aboard

June 1, 2009

An Air France plane on its way from Brazil to Paris has gone missing with 228 people on board, the airline said on Monday.

Its last known location was unclear. Brazilian television said the Brazilian air force had started a search mission over the Atlantic Ocean for the plane.

Flight AF 447 has 216 passengers and 12 crew on board. It left Rio de Janeiro on Sunday at 7 p.m. local time and was expected in Paris on Monday at 11:15 a.m. (5:15 a.m. EDT).

"Air France regrets to announce that it is without news from flight AF 447, which was flying on the Rio de Janeiro - Paris Charles de Gaulle route and was scheduled to arrive at 11.15 a.m. today (5:15 a.m. EDT)," an Air France spokesman said.

An Air France-KLM spokeswoman in Amsterdam said there had been no radio contact with the missing plane "for a while."

The plane was an Airbus 330-200, according to the Paris airports authority website.

Air France said relatives of people traveling on board flight AF 447 were being taken care of in a special area of Charles de Gaulle airport.

(Reporting by

Jean-Baptiste Vey,
Gerard Bon,
Astrid Wendlandt and
Tim Hepher;

writing by
Estelle Shirbon;

editing by
Crispian Balmer and
Angus MacSwan)
« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 03:00:41 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 09:01:39 am »

                                       Plane debris found in path Air France jet took

Associated Press Writer
25 mins ago
June 2, 2009

An airplane seat, a life jacket, metallic debris and signs of fuel were found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday by Brazilian military pilots searching for a missing Air France airliner.

The debris was spotted from the air about 410 miles (650 kilometers) north of the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, roughly along the path that the jet was taking before it disappeared with 228 people on board, said Air Force spokesman Jorge Amaral.

There were no signs of life in two sightings of separate debris areas about 60 kilometers (35 miles) apart.

"The locations where the objects were found are towards the right of the point where the last signal of the plane was emitted," Amaral said. "That suggests that it might have tried to make a turn, maybe to return to Fernando de Noronha, but that is just a hypothesis."

Amaral said authorities would not be able to confirm that the debris is from the plane until they can retrieve some of it from the ocean for identification. Brazilian military ships are not expected to arrive at the area until Wednesday.

The discovery came more than 24 hours after the jet bound from Rio de Janeiro to Paris went missing, with all feared dead.

Rescuers were still scanning a vast sweep of ocean extending from far off northeastern Brazil to waters off West Africa. The 4-year-old Airbus A330 was last heard from at 0214 GMT Monday (10:14 p.m. EDT Sunday).

Investigators on both sides of the ocean were trying to determine what brought it down. Potential causes included shifting winds and hail from towering thunderheads, lightning or a combination of other factors.

An automatic message sent from the plane just before it disappeared said that the plane was losing pressure and had experienced an electrical failure.


Associated Press Writers

Bradley Brooks and
Alan Clendenning

contributed from
Rio de Janeiro and
Sao Paulo.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 09:03:51 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 07:19:11 am »

                                         Brazil plane wreckage 'not from Airbus'

Marcelo Lluberas
Fri Jun 5, 2009

The mystery surrounding the crash of an Air France plane off the coast of Brazil deepened after Brazilian officials said items they had pulled from the sea were not in fact debris from the downed Airbus.

The search by ships for wreckage from Air France flight AF 477, which came down early Monday as it was flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people on board, continued in a zone where confirmed items from the plane had been spotted earlier in the week.

"Up to now, no material from the plane has been recovered," Brigadier Ramon Cardoso, director of Brazilian air traffic control, told reporters in the northeastern city of Recife late Thursday.

That contradicted a statement Cardoso made earlier Thursday when he said a pallet and two buoys plucked from the Atlantic by navy crews were the first pieces of the Air France crash.

In fact, Cardoso admitted later, they were nothing more than sea "trash," probably from a ship, as was a big oil patch originally described as a fuel slick from the French jet.

Several Brazilian navy vessels are looking for debris from the plane, including a seat and a big chunk of what appeared to be fuselage, sighted by air force aircraft on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Defense Minister Nelson Jobim has said there was "no doubt" that the debris spotted from the air came from flight AF 477, and that they marked the area close to where the plane hit the ocean.

The French government, which is in charge of the probe into the crash, has sent investigators to Brazil to inspect any debris that could be recovered from the zone, around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off-shore, and take them back to France.

Speculation over what caused the accident has ranged from a massive, lightning-packed storm in the area at the time, to turbulence, to pilot error or a combination of factors.

No mayday call was received from the plane, just a series of data transmissions signaling it had lost power and then had either broken up or gone into a fatal dive.

Memorial services were held Wednesday in Paris and Thursday in Rio for those on board the plane, though no bodies have been spotted at sea.

Many relatives of the passengers attended, but others declined, refusing to give up hope that somehow, despite the evidence, their loved ones had survived.

Brazil's air force late Thursday invited the Brazilian relatives to its center of operations in the northeastern city of Recife to observer developments.

Some of the relatives have said they wanted to go to Fernando de Noronha, a Brazilian archipelago 400 kilometers (250 miles) into the Atlantic that is serving as a forward base for the search and initial collection point for any debris or bodies that might be recovered.

"There is no need to go to Fernando de Noronha because all the same information is available in Recife," a spokesman for the air force-run air control center said. The city has prepared a morgue and debris inspection area for anything found.

Jobim said Wednesday that "if necessary, the air force may possibly organize an overflight of the search zone" for the families.
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2009, 02:54:54 pm »

                                   Two bodies, ticket found near Air France crash site

Marco Sibaja And
Emma Vandore

Searchers found two bodies and a briefcase containing a ticket for Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean close to where the jetliner is believed to have crashed, a Brazil military official said Saturday.

The French agency investigating the disaster, meanwhile, said airspeed instruments on the plane were not replaced as the maker recommended before the it disappeared in turbulent weather nearly a week ago.

The French accident investigation agency, BEA, found the plane received inconsistent airspeed readings from different instruments as it struggled in a massive thunderstorm on its flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people aboard.

Airbus had recommended that all its airline customers replace speed-measuring instruments known as Pitot tubes on the A330, the model used for Flight 447, said Paul-Louis Arslanian, the head of the agency.

"They hadn't yet been replaced" on the plane that crashed, said Alain Bouillard, head of the French investigation. Air France declined immediate comment.

Arslanian of the BEA cautioned that it is too early to draw conclusions about the role of Pitot tubes in the crash, saying that "it does not mean that without replacing the Pitots that the A330 was dangerous."

He told a news conference at the agency's headquarters near Paris that the crash of Flight 447 does not mean similar planes are unsafe, adding that he told family members not to worry about flying.

Airbus had made the recommendation for "a number of reasons," he said.

The two male bodies were recovered Saturday morning about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of where Air France Flight 447 emitted its last signals roughly 400 miles (640 kilometers) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha islands off Brazil's northern coast.

Brazilian air force spokesman Col. Jorge Amaral said an Air France ticket was found inside a leather briefcase.

"It was confirmed with Air France that the ticket number corresponds to a passenger on the flight," he said.

Admiral Edison Lawrence said the bodies were being transported to the Fernando de Noronha islands for identification. A backpack with a vaccination card also was recovered.

The finds could potentially establish a more precise search area for the crucial black box flight recorders that could tell investigators why the jet crashed, although Brazilian authorities refused to comment on implications for the search.

Investigators have been searching a zone of several hundred square miles (square kilometers) for debris. A blue plane seat with a serial number on it has been recovered but officials were still trying to confirm with Air France that it was a seat belonging to Flight 477.

The investigation is increasingly focused on whether external instruments may have iced over, confusing speed sensors and leading computers to set the plane's speed too fast or slow a potentially deadly mistake in severe turbulence.
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2009, 02:58:09 pm »

Pitot tubes, protruding from the wing or fuselage of a plane, feed airspeed sensors and are heated to prevent icing. A blocked or malfunctioning Pitot tube could cause an airspeed sensor to malfunction and cause the computer controlling the plane to accelerate or decelerate in a potentially dangerous way.

Air France has already replaced the Pitots on another Airbus model, the 320, after its pilots reported similar problems with the instrument, according to an Air France air safety report filed by pilots in January and obtained by The Associated Press.

The report followed an incident in which an Air France flight from Tokyo to Paris reported problems with its airspeed indicators similar to those believed to have been encountered by Flight 447. In that case, the Pitot tubes were found to have been blocked by ice.

"Following similar problems frequently encountered on the A320 fleet, preventative actions have already been decided and applied," the safety report says. The Pitots on all Air France's A320s were retrofitted with new Pitots "less susceptible to these weather conditions."

The same report says Air France decided to increase the inspection frequency for its A330 and A340 jets' Pitot tubes, but that it had been waiting for a recommendation from Airbus before installing new Pitots.

As they try to locate the wreckage, investigators are relying on 24 messages the plane sent automatically during the last minutes of the flight.

The signals show the plane's autopilot was not on, officials said, but it was not clear if the autopilot had been switched off by the pilots or had stopped working because it received conflicting airspeed readings.

The flight disappeared nearly four hours after takeoff, killing all on board. It was Air France's deadliest plane crash and the world's worst commercial air accident since 2001.

The head of France's weather forecasting agency, Alain Ratier, said weather conditions at the time of the flight were not exceptional for the time of the year and region, which is known for violent stormy weather.

On Thursday, European plane maker Airbus sent an advisory to all operators of the A330 reminding them of how to handle the plane in conditions similar to those experienced by Flight 447.

Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that advisory and the Air France memo about replacing flight-speed instruments "certainly raises questions about whether the Pitot tubes, which are critical to the pilot's understanding of what's going on, were operating effectively."

Arslanian said it is vital to locate a small beacon called a "pinger" that should be attached to the cockpit voice and data recorders, now presumed to be deep in the Atlantic.

"We have no guarantee that the pinger is attached to the recorders," he said.

Holding up a pinger in the palm of his hand, he said: "This is what we are looking for in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."

Currents could have scattered debris far along the ocean floor, he said.

President Barack Obama said at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy Saturday that the United States had authorized all of the U.S. government's resources to help investigate the crash.

BEA head Arslanian said U.S. forces have lent the agency acoustic systems that will be fitted to two naval vessels. France's Emeraude submarine and other high-tech equipment from French marine research institute Ifremer are also being sent to the region.

The submarine, to arrive next week, will try to detect signals from the black boxes, said military spokesman Christophe Prazuck.


Marco Sibja

reported from
Recife and

Emma Vandore
from Paris.

AP Writers

Patrick McGroarty
in Berlin and

Bradley Brooks
in Rio de Janeiro

contributed to this report.
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