Air France Flight 447 Wreckage Found, Bodies to be Recovered
05 April 2011
05 April 2011
On Monday, it was announced that French air crash investigators have found wreckage and bodies from Air France Flight 447, which disappeared in the Atlantic off the coast of Brazil on June 1, 2009 with 228 crew and passengers on board while en route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris. The discovery came at 3,900 metres below the ocean's surface just over a week after they started the latest search for the Airbus A330 plane.
The finding has raised hopes that the mystery of what happened to the aircraft will be figured out. Investigators say that the next step they will take is to focus on recovering the bodies and step up the search for the data recorders. The black boxes are key to determining what may have caused the plane to crash. The A330 is a rather new design, and its disappearance has puzzled the aviation community, as it's very unusual that modern aircraft encounter issues during flights.
The Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA), which is the nation's air safety watchdog, says the wreckage was found just north of the plane's last known position and was located in a rather limited sandy and flat zone. The wreckage included part of the wing, fuselage and an engine. It could take 3-4 weeks to get ships into the area to retrieve the bodies found, they noted.
Investigators have already completed 3 previous searches for the flight and failed to find the wreckage, making this find rather significant. This latest search was conducted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which used remote controlled submersibles with sidescan sonars to map the floor of the ocean.
Last month, Air France and Airbus were put under official investigation by the French magistrate. The companies have both disagreed with the preliminary manslaughter charges. Airbus chief executive Tom Enders says the new discovery is a relief for everyone affected by the tragic accident. They hope it will lead to the recovery and reading of the 2 black box recorders, as the data is essential to understanding what happened. Air France-KLM chief executive Pierre-Henri added that the discovery
is good news, as it gives hope they will find information on the causes of the crash.
Stewarts Law attorney Charles-Henri Tavidat represents over 50 of the families affected by the loss of loved ones in the crash. He welcomes the find but cautioned that it's too soon to assume investigators can solve the mystery as to what happened. If they find the black boxes, he added, they don't know if they will work. Some bodies were recovered in the days after the flight's disappearance, but most of the passengers are still missing. The BEA says they are briefing representatives for the families.